Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Walking in Open Fields and Flowers

I was walking one day in fields far away, heading somewhere I knew not but without worry or concern, for the voice of nature was singing and its song enwrapped me and called to me as fellow creation to join in its song. Far from alone that day, the wind and sun were keeping me closer company than that which I had left behind and the day was bright and early.

This solitary path took me along ways that filled my eyes with myriad sights, and introduced me to many of that family of wonders. Often times I would linger a moment to watch them as they humbly went about their given tasks with contagious joy and splendour unequalled. The heavens have their spectacles; of distant stars, deep and hued clouds and undiscovered spheres, but I marveled as I considered that no amount of eager watching through a glass or grand voyages of exploration in complicated machines could ever carry me to these scenes of quiet glory; reached only by a patient and solitary walk into ‘insignificant’ places. I stayed a while in that good company before leaving them to their quietly spoken work and kept on my way.

The day was passing on and it felt good to be walking the path of one who knows no destination but the always-moving but never-leaving sun. Roads and highways have their use, but the straightness, protection and direction of those roads had often proved deceptive. I had discovered that contrary to appearances the Vast Open lacked neither protection nor direction, and what was more, there was no path so freeing or so true both to me and to itself.

During my days of walking I had come across many flowers. They decorated every field and knoll; some were solitary whilst others were always found in number. In appearance they could be plain or colourful, exotic or dull. On early, misty mornings it could seem that there might be nothing more breathtaking than discovering a small copse hiding a community of bluebells; on a sunny day nothing more common than a grassy field sprayed with daisies. Depending upon my mood and their appearance my appreciation of them would vary between extremes. At their most beauteous they would cost me a breath, at their least I might not give them a second thought and trample them under foot as I walked – colourful but insignificant markings taken for granted. This day however, I was to come upon a flower that would teach me something to stay with me the rest of my walking days. I was walking just as I had always done, if not with even a little more joy and freedom than usual, and had passed many flowers without taking any particular interest in looking at them. Perhaps because there are so many of them, or perhaps because their beauty seems so obvious, they had held no significant place in my thoughts. Making my way up a grassy hill and enjoying a light breeze under blue skies which were entertaining a small fellowship of clouds there had been little distraction in these open fields. My mind was occupied with the memory of the previous encounter with wonders that seemed to me to be of a singular nature. Eventually I topped the fell and as my feet stood upon the brow my eyes eagerly surveyed the land below. Watching for what might be ahead. The sun continued to shine above and the day remained bright and cheerful. After some moments of windswept consideration and expectant imagination my mind turned back to the matter of walking and with it turned my eyes to the slope by which I would begin my descent into the valley. It was at that moment when I noticed her; a small and delicate but beautiful white flower blowing in the gentle breeze.

It was her dance with the wind that caught my attention and for moments, lengthened by the magic of the sight, I watched captivated as this lone flower swayed unpretentiously on the hill top, seemingly unaware of my presence. Her dance was gentle and simple but elegant, and her appearance was unadorned but pure white. The sun was shining down light upon her and as she danced with the wind in the light of that radiance it seemed to me that she began to glow. I spoke before of sharing smiles with wonders as I watched them go out about their business beneath the sun. This flower smiled no less, in fact it seemed that her smile was defining, everything about her was open expression of joyful being and rather than her work being before the sun, her dance was instead for him.

I don’t remember how long I lingered there. Just watching the flower dance gave me a sense of awe, peace and exuberant joy all that the same time; I wanted to shout but couldn’t and was happy to stay that way. Eventually though, the sun moved on and the flower began to end her dance and rest instead in her place at the top of the hill. I could not linger there myself forever, nor did it feel I could, should I have had the desire. So I took one last look at the flower and offered a smile, but she did not notice, for her smiles were not directed towards me. That evening I recalled that which I had seen and in the glow of that flower given from the sun I saw beauty manifested. In her dance I saw surrender, love, and obedience. In her smile I saw joy. I had left that place as the light was fading and headed down into the new valley to find a place to rest. I would walk on many days after that, sometimes returning to the valley, but always remembering that day, the first day I began to appreciate flowers, and in appreciating flowers, I learned how to appreciate the sun.