(Janet Nye wrote these reflections last Spring. We’d like to share them with you on Earth Day 2021. Even deeper than concern about “saving the planet” comes the matter of coming to know and love the world we inhabit as God’s creation, of which we are a responsible part. And to love something is to pay attention; to show the re-spect of “looking again” to see all that is there. And then, to grow in wonder.)

Rue Anemone (with wild Ginger in front)Rue Anemone (with wild Ginger in front)

Rue Anemone (with wild Ginger in front)

Every spring I make solo pilgrimages through the forests of the Ozarks and Ouachita to spend time with whatever my eyes, ears and feet/hands encounter. It’s a meditative time. It’s not about my speed, the time of day or the distance, which are all man made measures that are very insignificant to me in these moments.



As I begin my walks, I take a deep breath to inhale the forest air and to acknowledge the entrance to the holy temple of God’s creation. With each step I’m drawn closer to God and closer to all the amazing detail of all that surrounds me.

I am first drawn to the forest floor where spring wildflowers are in abundance. The detail and diversity excites me beyond measure. I’m soon on my knees looking closely at the mayapples, the rue anemone, the toothwort. It’s easy to keep walking and think, “oh white flowers in bloom.” No. Spend time with the detail- the shapes, the tiny splashes of pink on white flowers, the leaves on these plants.

In just a few steps I’m nearly in tears as the detail of these plants is filling me with the unimaginable creativity of God.

Wild GingerWild Ginger

Wild Ginger

Then, my ears draw me to the trees . . . was that a Northern Parula I just heard? Oh my! That tiny bird has made the journey across the Gulf and is here in my presence! I am blessed. In seconds, I’m screaming inside because I hear the black and white warblers. The warblers are back! I am humbled by their presence. These tiny birds have been at least as far as Central America and have now returned to the Ozarks. How does this even happen?

I continue along the trails looking for my favorite wildflowers. It’s pure joy to search for “my friends” every year.

They appear through the forest floor depending on temperatures, rainfall and light of day. I can never know for sure when I will be greeted by their smiling faces. With each flower I see, I smile. I see the white and yellow trout lilies, the celandine poppies, Jacob’s ladder, trilliums, bellwort, jack-in-the-pulpit and wild ginger. I’m so full with the joy of being in Gods creation that I’m sure I can walk for days.

Interspersed in all of the searching for wildflowers, is stopping and looking into the trees for the music of the birds. Who is singing and where is it? Birds are much more challenging than flowers who patiently remain still and allow me to kneel down to admire their detail.

I spend hours on the trails repeating this fulfillment. I am so FULL. In addition, if I look at eye level I’m treated to views of blocks of Ozark sandstone and limestone, I see views of creeks, I see amazing trees hugging on precarious edges.

It’s so easy to miss the detail. We are programmed to only see the BIG picture. Just as we think of the words of Jesus and what he “really” said, may we not walk past the forest only looking for the BIG. When at Lake Nixon, turn on your macro lens. We are not the sole inhabitants of these special places. We are visitors who can be given the gift of amazement, but we have to allow our souls, our mind and our hearts to be in tune with where we are.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This