Observing God’s Beauty – by Fred Duschl

Psalm 100: 5: For God is sheer beauty,
all generous in love, loyal always and ever.
Translation by Eugene Petterson, in The Message.

“I hate snow and winter,” some people say to me.
I observe: each season is a window into God’s beauty.
“Oh, I cannot stand that wintry cold,” some of us
may be saying. Yet, I think, we are humans with great minds.
We can deal with changes in the weather.
I say: “Dress for the season.”

So I do. I get out my long johns. I unpack my lined jeans.
I find heavy socks. I put on my Mickey Mouse boots,
find a wool scarf and a wool hat, find my acrylic mittens,
and lastly, I snuggle into my heavy winter coat.
I am ready. Thank God for warm clothing.

My dogs and I face into the bracing cold weather.
We were taken aback with a three inch snowfall on November 12,
and besides that, hit with a 10 degree cold morning the day after.
Even with all of that, did you see the clear full moon?
It was beautiful.

Outside, I observed the beauty of the new fallen snow.
Did you see all those late clinging leaves
from the oaks and American beech,
now lying on top of the snow?
Leaves, black and brown, covering the white snowfall.
And over there, fire engine red leaves fallen from the Fire Bush,
placing red splotches of color onto the snow.
They are, you know, just calling attention to God’s beauty,
if we just observe.

Into the woods comes a hunter, dressed in his
camouflage suit and hat, carrying his chair and his bow.
He seats himself in a tree. After a while,
he observes racoons walking by,
just chattering,
calling out to each other.
And over there, running squirrels, filling their mouths
with acorns and hickory nuts, burying
them in dirt for a future meal.

The hunter waits for “his” buck deer,
but they are smart deer, keeping themselves at a good distance.
But the quiet slowly sinks into the hunter’s soul.
Contentedly, he prays and thanks God for sharing
beauty and love that the hunter finds in nature.

Meanwhile, I walk into the same woods.
I listen
to sounds of the forest, rustling leaves,
some now letting go from the mother tree,
slipping, floating gracefully to the snow below.

I hear
crows cawing as I come near.

I listen again
to the mournful cries of the red-tailed hawk
looking for a meal.

I recognize the
moving sound of a semi truck
in the distance traveling its way across the state route.

Thank you, God,
for the sounds of nature and of man.
The key to seeing God’s beauty around us
is observing, being attentive, and being aware
of what is around us.

So I thank God
for being able to pay attention, to observe,
to being mindful, and of seeing,

God’s gifts of nature surround us all.
Thanks be to God for His beauty, His Love, and His Faithfulness.
I bow my head in wonder and in awe.

November 24, 2019

Nates’ granddaughter, Gracie, bundled up to create some artwork in Columbus, Ohio’s first snow of the season – by Natalie Shoemaker
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