So I Walked a Little While

By Dave Smith

February 22, 2017 – temperature predicted to reach 70 degrees with clear, sunny skies after the early day fog dissipates.  So I walk McDuff in the park near Cherise’s school, a half mile or so stroll that takes a dog eternity.  He must sniff every leaf that fell last fall to determine peace or war, must ardently snuff every tree trunk to see if any other dog has boldly gone where no dog has gone before.  I tag along, enjoying the gradual warming, puffs of musk-mingled air, and the damp delay of grey along the edge of poking sunshine.  My brain begins a left side stroll, steps into thoughts of the stewardship drive pro’s and con’s, the politics of church, and the insistent nag to get the artwork and editing done for my book.  That short trip quickly ends in a jump across the stream of trickling, silver slivers to the right side, that place of thinks and mellow melodies.

A mystery of calm air swaying brown topped cattails greets me.  My late sister Karen-an in-law in reality, but the Smith’s just have “family” – loved to lacquer these and stick a few in a tall vase in her entryway.  Nice to be greeted by one so very long gone.  She travelled to God with the playing of the Hallelujah Chorus, to the pastor’s proclamation of “How she loved those bells!” No sadness joins the push-aside of stalks, just a pleasantry of shadowy journey with hummms of insects and chatters of cicada.  Somewhere the water has widened into a rapids, the quiet bummmmbling over shallow rocks like a distant wind through entwined spruce and fir.  I break into an glistening alfalfa clearing.  In reality, I sit on a new, pine bench as ‘Duff stretches the lease to full extension.  In think, I slump to blossoms, the sweetness of soon to cut hay that will find its baled way to the barn loft of my youth.  The wet seat shivers a second’s chill, a weak effort to dispel my wandering way.  The Westie waggles, shakes, and trots back, accustomed to these delays in his walks with me.  His path-plop brings a snort, a curl, a yawn, and closed eyes.  “He’ll be a while” likely tiptoes through the puppy’s thoughts.

I resist left side pokes at my idyll.  Clover adds a gentleness to my stay and I ponder four leaf searches to buttress the dam holding away a reservoir of invasions.  The lesson of not fretting over what I cannot change has come slowly, comes easier once I cross the stream.  ‘Nice’, such a blah word, really does capture the essence of my mind sit.  Green teases a tickle as I press arms into its fullness, as I settle onto my back to deeper daydream into the cloudless sky.  God has so blessed me with picturing myself “away from it all.”  I long to walk the sands of the sea, but am content in this grass for the time being.  In the spring of 2018 I hope to make the Atlantic shores of Coco Beach and touch the tides, the rollingeverysteadydroning lap at my feet as I squish along searching for sand dollars and conchs.  Planning is so on the other side of the creek – I’ll just go.  A tug, a yip tell me McD’ wants some slack to do who knows what specific something.  I rise and we head towards the Ford.  He to breakfast, me on the slope that slips me back to this February morning on the blacktop path of the park.

I have been praying about a few church things that bother me, praying for guidance, an answer to those nags, a sign for what to do, to write, or to say.  At the SUV, we climb aboard and I remind the puppy to stay on the blanket and “not get my car full of mud”, remembering a little late that I, too, had a bit of backside wetness to blotch the fabric.  I smile.  Cattails.  Alfalfa and clover.  A quiet time, just the Holy Spirit, McDuff, and me.  God seems to do that for me – little nudges that bring insight.  I know He will take care of our congregation, He will guide us, and He will get us where He wants us to be. May be painful, may not, but it will be His way.  Always good to settle in the meadow, take a breath, and enjoy a mystery of calm air.