The forest is bursting with colour and life. My mother has taken the children for the afternoon and I have several, glorious hours to roam the woods, iced coffee in hand and camera dangling from a strap around my neck. I don’t always realise when I’m peopled out, but as I meander down the empty trails, I remember how much I need this.
Every mother needs it.
Room to breathe.
There are wildflowers everywhere. Trout lilies with their heads bowed respectfully to speckled leaves. Downy yellow and northern blue violets nestled close to the forest floor. A lone white trillium, two creamy daffodils and patches of Carolina spring beauty that have been indiscriminately strewn among the meadow cabbages. There are strawberry flowers and marsh marigolds too.
Other plants are also thriving. A host of Jacks, standing tall in their pulpits. The leafy umbrellas of May apples, shielding fruit that is only edible when overripe. Fern fronds unfurling ever so slowly.
Beauty all around.
The sky is a brilliant, cloudless blue and sunlight filters bright through branches coated with the tiniest of leaves. Beside the path, a stream giggles and gurgles as it splashes between muddy banks. A wide-eyed dragonfly darts across my vision and then is gone in an instant.
The anxiety that I’ve been carrying melts away because, here, there is only peace. I’m not sure why I feel God’s presence more closely in the woods. All I know is that it is soul-shifting for me, and I understand why David grew close to God while tending sheep and why Jesus went into the wilderness to pray.
I almost miss the deer.
She is standing motionless, peering at me through the trees—and three more grazing, oblivious. Through the lens of my camera, I stare back. Some hikers come along, chatting loudly and amicably with each other, and in a flash, the deer melt into the underbrush and I am left staring blankly at untouched forest. A little ways down the path, past a giant, twisted willow tree, I spy them again—and then again, they are gone.
Everywhere, there are butterflies. Tiny purplish-white ones that I’m unable to identify. Slightly larger orange ones, called skippers. The even larger cabbage whites. There are summer azures and grapevine epimenis moths, and there are other insects too. Quick little hover flies and fat, lazy bumblebees. An iridescent, emerald green tiger beetle. A shiny black ground beetle that ambles across the trail.
Life all around.
Beauty has spilled out of the Creator’s heart into everything around me.
And I feel it spilling into all of me too.