Thankful for the Beauty of Creation

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” –John Muir

My journey from home to Trinity Lutheran Church in Rouzerville takes about 40 minutes in good weather–a bit longer if I need take an alternate route or find myself behind slow traffic. One Sunday morning I was even delayed by a farmer in his Sunday suit trying to move a recalcitrant calf out of the road. It is a lovely drive, and I am thankful for the gift of nature and the time to think and pray (with my eyes open, of course).

When I leave Arendtsville, I drive over rolling hills with orchards on either side. The view is breathtaking, and I have enjoyed watching it change during the short four months I have been making the trip. Once I cross Route 30 through Cashtown, I am in the flat lands surrounded by fields, farm yards, and more orchards. The trip slows down through historic Fairfield before I cross the covered bridge and head over Jack’s Mountain. Next is the ascent to  Blue Ridge Summit and subsequent descent into Rouzerville. On a clear day it is a stunning drive and perfect time to prepare my heart and mind for worship.

Sometimes I go home by a different route in order to stop at the nursing home in Quincy. This route takes me through Waynesboro, up through Quincy, Mont Alto, and Penn National. It’s a quick descent through the forest to Route 30 and then home. This route seems to be preferable in bad weather–at least that’s what I discovered during our October snow storm.

Some folks might complain about the distance, but by North Dakota standards it’s a breeze. I try to consolidate trips to be a better steward of time and resources, but I appreciate the opportunity to drink in the beauty of the Keystone state.

My husband and I are fortunate to be a short drive from the Appalachian Trail and the Michaux State Forest and Pine Grove Furnace State Park, all of which offer many opportunities to enjoy hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities. Occasionally, when our day off is the same, we’ll take the dogs and go for a quick hike. Even if we don’t have time to leave town, we can take a quick walk up to the local cemetery. It sits at one of the highest points in town, is surrounded on three sides by orchards, and affords both peace and quiet and stunning views of the valley and surrounding mountains.

Simply standing atop that hill, holding my husband’s hand, drinking in the crisp autumn air and the beauty of God’s good creation is a gift beyond price and measure. Thank you, God, for the beauty of your earth. Help us all to be good stewards of this gift.

What are your favorite places to experience the beauty of creation?

Even if you can’t get outside, click here for a wonderful rendition of English Composer John Rutter’s version of “For the Beauty of the Earth” sung by the Paya Lebar Methodist School Girls’ Choir (Singapore). The voices and pictures are lovely.

Photos by Gerry Dincher and Rob Blezard used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!

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