11.12.2006

A Glorious Day

The last time I had more than two hours to myself was over six months
ago, when my wife went to see her sister and took our daughter with
her, freeing me to go for a nice long bike ride and do a little
uniterrupted studying in the middle of the day (I was still in grad
school at the time). The situation repeated itself this weekend, and
the weather couldn't have cooperated any better, so there was no way I
wasn't going to go for another long bike ride.

I can't begin to tell you how beautiful the scenery was, biking up
West River Drive along the Schuylkill River, crossing Falls Bridge,
and taking Forbidden Drive to Valley Green. The leaves in the air and
on the ground, and those descending from one to the other, made for a
picturesque scene. I was tempted to never stop: even though I knew
the farther I went, the farther I'd have to return, I couldn't help
but forget the burning in my legs and lungs with all the beauty around
me.

I stopped at one of my favorite vista points, a couple of miles shy of
Valley Green Inn, where I have gone countless times in the last
fifteen years to mull over big decisions, confide my deepest pains and
insecurities to God, and just plain be still and be in awe of His
creation. This weekend's view didn't disappoint. As the Wissahickon
Creek slowly weaved its way under the bridge I stood on, all of my
worries seemed to slow down too. I looked up at trees that have been
there for decades, steady as ever, despite season after season of
change, resilient in the face of long winters and scorching summers,
and felt myself drawing from their steadiness and resiliency. Most of
all I felt the presence of God, finally able to get through to me, no
longer crowded out by the hustle and bustle of my daily schedule.

He didn't say anything to me, and I didn't say anything to Him. No
words were needed, just stillness and the recognition of divine
presence. What a glorious day.

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