I haven't posted lately because I have been learning a few things. First, I learned that I am not a very good gardener (yet, at least). I should qualify that. There is a way in which all that nature provides, coming from God as it does, is beyond my control. All I can do is help (which, of course, is what a gardener does). The tomato blight, for example, is not something that I can do much about. But I do wonder what else I could have done. I have also learned that one cannot dig oneself out of a hole all that quickly if the hole is as wide and deep as the one I have made concerning my relationship with the earth. I have learned that time flies by, too. This particularly true in early September, where the kid's needs and the church's needs take precedence over any actual life changes or meaningful (I should say "non-work related") reflection. Ah well. One step at a time.
I have also noticed, for what it is worth, that the landscape of Burbania can work to separate us from Creation. This is not to say that there aren't beautiful vistas, etc. to look at. I have merely observed that it is sometimes hard to notice them or to get a feal for the forces that created the river or the hill when it all seems so tame and convenient. The landscape feels made for us rather than us for it.
I have a few pictures here of Maine where I grew up. I am fortunate to own a piece of land on Lake George in Skowhegan. It isn't all that large a lake, actually. The hills aren't very high. Yet it does a good job of putting us in our place.
The first picture was taken at sunrise. This second one was taken some time after.
These living entities help us to remember our place and our connection. Otherwise our motivation can flag a bit. Nature exists "out there" for some of us. We may go hiking or camping but, ultimately, it is a form a recreation akin to apple picking unless we find a way to get the created world back inside us and relate to it in sacred conversation. The feeling of smallness and insignificance that we can feel at moments of connection with the earth is an important feeling. It reminds us that life isn't all about us. In fact our lives may not be as much our own as we would like to think and as we are told by a striving culture.
When we were up in Maine we did some hiking. When we get to the top of some of these mountains we can look out and see miles and miles of ridges, forests and hills. People and our problems seem to drop away in that moment. Life is good and we are part of something greater.
Of course, we can do this in even the most humanity-laden landscapes. Perhaps it won't be quite like this view from Mt. Blue. However, it can still be breathtaking in its own way.
Speaking of ridges and hills, check this out. I found it across the street from the parsonage. It was equidistant from the river and the garbage can...