But forty-six years ago, on July 20, 1969, some of us may also remember Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landing on the moon! It certainly captured our nation’s attention but perhaps even that too has gone the way of the eight-track tape.
Some of us in these United States have unfortunately become blind or insensitive to the true wonders of life – the birth of a child, the healing of illnesses, and the wonders of nature all around us. We take them for granted and let them disappear into the ordinariness of daily life. That is unfortunate because, in so doing, we are missing the wonders of God’s presence as well.
In the Jewish tradition, we are reminded to be watchful, seeing God’s beauty in God’s creation: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the works of his hands” (Psalm 19:2).
In the Christian tradition those insights are remembered and carried forward, as when St. Paul wrote: “For what can be known about God is evident, because God made it evident… since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes… have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made” (Romans 1:19-20a).
Whether we see God’s presence around us or just allow ourselves to be lifted up and refreshed by Mother nature’s panoply of surprising and ever-changing beauty, we need to take the time to notice and allow ourselves to bathe in these special experiences.
Fro instance, Henry David Thoreau commented that: “An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”
John Muir, the father of our National Parks, reminds us how nature does us good: “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
At La Salette in Attleboro, MA, we are privileged to have a nature preserve and walking path behind our property, dedicated by the La Salette Missionaries and the Mass. Audubon Society for our pleasure and relaxation. We were glad to do our part to preserve this holy ground of natural beauty for ages to come.
During summertime many New Englanders are often drawn to the sea, to the south with Cape Cod and its environs or to the North Shore and the endless seacoast of Maine. I remember reading for the first time John Masefield’s brief but beautiful poem, Sea Fever, and memorizing it in our High School English class. It moves me still.
by John Masefield
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a gray dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
So the next time you happen cast a glance up at the summer’s star-filled sky or relax by the ocean’s gentle waves, remember to take the time to truly enjoy it’s beauty. After all, it’s there for you to enjoy!