O.K. I know I said I was going to name one thing each day for which I am thankful, but All Souls Day calls for a trinity of thanksgivings rolled into one. Today I am thankful for saints, stones, and Springers (spaniels, that is) AND long leisurely walks.
One of our favorite places to walk the dogs is a local cemetery. It’s a lovely, peaceful place perched atop a rolling hill, nestled amongst apple orchards, and sporting a view of the surrounding countryside that even the dead surely appreciate. Assorted markers and stones date back to the 1700s, and beneath them are buried the bodies of the every day saints who settled this small Pennsylvania German farming community. If stones could talk!
My spouse and I often stroll hand-in-hand; other times we move with purpose in order to get our hearts pumping. Sometimes we pause and survey the grandeur of God’s good creation, giving thanks for the gift of the day. Pete, the Springer, released from his leash explores an explosion of delectable smells in the neat orchard rows, while Dexter still has to hang pretty close to us. At two and a half years old, he is still far too easily distracted and prone to wander off.
We’ve walked in this place on hot, parched July afternoons and on crisp October nights by the light of a full harvest moon. At night the universe seems to expand before one’s very eyes; we take time to pick out constellations and the occasional satellite. Occasionally we see shooting stars, and recently we were treated to a rare glimpse of the Aurora borealis, its light show dancing and pulsing across the horizon, all too quickly fading from vivid color to mere memory.
I am thankful for these walks and for the time they offer to simply be–not do. For a short while, the cares of any given day fade like the Northern lights into presence of the Creator and the company of departed saints. These are precious moments because life is fleeting and unpredictable. Each breath is gift, and to be alive is joy. With one last glance at the glories of the landscape we walk toward home a little more rested and a whole lot more grateful for all the blessings we share.
What is your favorite place to walk? Where do you experience the company of saints and loved ones?