Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Writer's Nest Topic: Creation/Nature by Susan L.

  God's Cathedral
  There is an entrance nearby to the conservation area across the road. It only takes a few steps south to get there but sometimes it feels much further. On a hot August afternoon the sizzling heat from the pavement causes the air to buckle and twist in the distance. Most of the insects and birds have fallen silent, seeking refuge from the baking merciless sun. The pervasive zzzzz's of a warmth loving cicada slices through the day from somewhere in the distance. It is loudly answered by one nearby hiding safely out of sight near the top of a tree.
  The only other sound is rubber croc footsteps. They crunch and swish along the hard packed gravel embracing the edge of this unnatural black, seamless river. Man-made smells of tar and oil choke out all other fragrances. A car roars past in a blast of breath holding hot exhaust and a smattering of pebbles against the road and skin.
  The sun falls harsh and unforgiving on the shoulders. It isn't far to the gate but already droplets of perspiration begin to gather. A quick face wipe with a t-shirt sleeve only dries the face for a short moment. Already the tongue cries out for water.
 It's a relief to slip through the gate and enter another world away from harsh chemical smells. There is only a ragged and sagging fence line holding the two apart, man and nature, but it feels like miles and miles between them. Stepping off the gravel, the soft swish of ankle tickling grass and spongy ground are a relief to the feet.
  A couple of paces past the gate, man-made smells are wiped away. Dodging the stinging nettles which have sprung up over the last couple of years and by turning right, the short, sun lit grassy path changes. It is blanketed by cool shadows, old leaves and fallen twigs. Feet make no sound here. On either side mature fiddlehead ferns, beginning to turn brown, wave and rustle in the small breeze that manages to penetrate the woods. Mosquito season has long passed. The surrounding wetland is baked and firm because of the lack of rain.
  The cedar forest's rich and aromatic scent brings back memories of being a little girl watching my dad work on the boat he had built. I sat perched on a stool in the carport as he sanded it to a fine finish. There was a carefully manicured hedge along one side, only that day it was the quiet rush of rain that amplified its wonderful, clean, scent. Sawdust and cedars often bring that day to mind when my dad gently lifted me up to perch out of harm's way.
  Now, however, is one of those moments when sadness blankets my soul like the stifling heat of the sun suffocates the earth. There is a purpose, a direction, for this short foray into the woods in spite of the day. Not far from the gateway is a special tree. Its split trunk, five giant fingers, break through the earth and reach towards heaven. This has become a place of sanctuary; a place of prayer.
  Standing in the centre, back pressed against the solid safety of a massive thumb, my heart opens and is opened to honest confessions. A few tears mingle with the perspiration on my cheek. For now, just being here helps simplify life. Worries and concerns blow away with the breeze. Grief and pain are released. Gratitude acts like a salve for the soul. I hear God's voice in the creak and moan of branch on branch as the cedars sway, rocking me gently.
  "I am yours, you are Mine; for now and forever more."
  "If she is a wall, we will build upon her a battlement of silver; and if she is a door, we will enclose her with boards of cedar." Song 8:9

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