Walking on water

Published 12:12 pm Wednesday, March 6, 2024

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Yesterday, I was walking down the hill to a little waterfall below our house with a pair of  clippers. The trail had grown up with briars over the past year or so, and it would be smart to clear it our so our granddaughter Lucy and I could walk down to sit at the waterfall on the afternoons when she is here. In the past, that trail was always cleared because our boys spent hours down there, away from their nagging mother. I suspect that they did all sorts of dangerous stuff, climbing around the huge wet boulders, but when you have three young boys, it’s sort of like “don’t ask, don’t tell,” just be home for dinner. 

So, I was down there with my clippers, thinking about clearing the old trail below the waterfall, and then thought about the option of walking upstream to get back to the house rather than simply turning around to go back the way I came or climb over the hill like we sometimes did in the past. But it was a beautiful day, so I decided to go back a different way, following the creek with the idea that maybe we could make a new loop trail. We have lived here for 45 years, yet I had never followed that little creek up to a higher trail that Lucy and I walk every week to get back home. The creek is in a narrow ravine, with lots of boulders right next to the water. But, for some reason, I simply decided to go a different way.

Now, I am going to regress back to my childhood, long, long ago. As a child, I went to church every Sunday with my mother, and I was a good little girl, or at least tried to be good. I actually paid attention in Sunday School. I believed what the Bible said. I was fascinated with the story of Jesus walking on water. He said that if we believe in him, then we can walk on water. I did believe in him, so I tried to walk on water over and over. When I fell in, I simply tried harder to believe better. But it never worked, so I finally gave up.

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Now, back to yesterday. I was walking along that creek, looking at the meandering pattern of the water between the boulders and then going underground.

Because the creek is in a steep, deep ravine, there had been some huge land disturbances in the past that had covered the water, forcing the creek to go underground. Those areas are now covered with moss and Turkey Feet and more gorgeous vegetation than I can name. While I was walking in those areas where the water was just below my feet, I GOT IT! I was walking on water! And why? Because I was walking in the woods and feeling what was beneath my footsteps. I had taken a different path. simply listening and feeling the warmth of the sun and the breeze, not listening to the chatter that usually consumes our minds. 

I started thinking about the creek and how it had survived after being buried by dirt fallen from the mountain above. Its living water had found an alternate route. Because it had found its way beneath the soil, it provided nourishment for the plants that now grow on the surface, the mosses and wildflowers, which in turn hold the soil together. 

That little creek taught me a lesson. It helped me understand how we can all work together for the benefit of all when we are confronted with a natural disaster. We must save ourselves in order to save those around us. That little girl is still inside this old body, who is just now learning to be still, to listen, and to pay attention to that which surrounds us. This earth has a whole lot to teach us. Maybe I need to keep going to Sunday School; now it just happens to be outside. And the lesson has no words, just sights and sounds.