Most days, I walk the dog in a hurried, let’s-get-this-over-with sort of manner. If the weather is pretty, we might walk the whole path at Gulley Park, but if he is having a feisty morning, or if I got a late start, we cut through the middle and he gets jipped.
I always thought my walks with the dog would be a significant part of my day, time in the morning to be with the Lord. But somewhere in between rolling out of bed and walking out the door leash in hand, I tend lose the desire for slow, for intentional, for quieting my heart. It becomes more about completing this task so I can move on to the next.
This morning, though, was different. Extended time with the Lord was a work requirement (what a tough assignment, right?), so Ridley and I wandered the trails at Lake Fayetteville, following the lake shore and the rays of morning sun peeking through leafy awnings. With one headphone connecting me to Pandora, a soundtrack of worship music played as we tripped along over roots and rocks and dirt. Normally I am staring straight ahead, but today I was aware enough to notice the acorns some squirrels dropped right in front of my path. I heard the songs of four or five different birds in a 30 second symphony. I found some of the first leaves who have welcomed the effects of autumn, proudly showing off their gold and crimson and tan.
The fall seems to consistently be the busiest time of my year. Between football season and cycling events and camping and weddings and campus events, my weekends are booked. While these are all fun things, the fall is a time when I want to sit and be still. To savor the slow change of life from sun and sweat and shorts to colored leaves and sweatshirts pulled snug over knuckles. The problem is, I don’t make resting a priority. I look for significance in doing, not being. And while the doing is good, I am learning that the being is what enables the doing.
This morning was the first time I have ever noticed the soft crown of an acorn. I’ve never found one so recently disconnected from the branch, I suppose, but the little caps hadn’t dried out yet. Pliable, feathery layers make up what later becomes roughly textured. Even now as I study the acorns I carried home, one of the caps has already dried up. The layers have formed into one, while the other nut still looks like that shaggy haircut every boy in ninth grade seemed to have when I was in school.
The window of time for catching acorns is brief. They will fall whether or not I am there to observe them — just as the leaves will change and the breezes will turn cold. If I want to soak it all in, I have to choose the stillness. The being over the going and doing. God’s presence over my to-do list will be a choice to daily make, but my hope is that being more aware of God’s gifts during this autumn season will fuel me for the going and doing that follows.
**linking up with Holley Gerth today: click the button below to check out her blog as well as other writers who are linking up to encourage others with their words