Kicked any leaves lately?
Bright fall days feel school-new and ripe with promise. Then comes waning daylight, raking, decay. Entropy in overdrive. More raking. Thoughts of snow.
Among swan-song colors, I feel conflicted: a little sad, yet grateful for small glories. Like “Eternity,” this wise little poem by William Blake.
He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy.
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.
Am I primed for delight?
Autumn’s rest and recovery cycle nudges me toward close encounters (of the best kind).
- To spread-eagle in mounded leaves
- Interpret cloud shapes
- Count the colors on one leaf
After months of being productive, I am reserving pre-holiday recovery time.
Even micro-recovery times deserve a calendar slot. “Brain-storming over lunch? Let’s meet tomorrow. Today I’m booked.”
This is how we guard “appointments with delight.” Guilt-free, we relish that nutty caramel apple, the fleeting crunch of leaves underfoot.
Maybe we stroll on a weekend afternoon, notice toadstools.
Golden and almost troll-ish, this burgeoning cluster burst through a shady corner of lawn.
Toadstools crop up the way worries do. Neither actually appear, or vanish, overnight. They build up to their moment of surfacing. Undercover, both absorb what feeds them.
Then they spread.
A dirty little secret
While we’re telling ourselves to get out and walk, pale filaments called hyphae are silently nosing through soil. Intertwining.
Thready clumps form webs, then little balls, which suck up water. A lot of water. Turns out a mushroom is 90% liquid. (Humans clock in ~60%.)
Gorging can double their size in a day.
Time-lapse photography would us show caps and stems erupting above ground, splitting the wet membrane that covers them like a veil.
This one looks like a flower carved from wood. Plantlike as they seem, mushrooms are more akin to animals. Like sea scallops (yes, mollusks are animals).
Or Jabba the Hutt. Sliced on a pizza.
(If you almost laughed, you’re halfway to recovery’s doorstep.)
Friends, delight is optional
What if we make a date with wonder? Place ourselves in its path? While we’re at it, aim for optimal ( .
Soul strolling, especially alongside water, through gardens or park lands, fields or woods, tweaks our perspective. We drink in vistas and entertain big-picture thoughts, reducing stress.
We witness myriad intricacies and remember Psalm 139:14: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (NIV)
Zoom in your cellphone to frame what catches your eye. Document nature, at rest without apology.
The more we look, the more the kid in us wants to point, to sniff and touch (soul strollers never nibble unidentified fungi).
Peer under a toadstool’s cap. Thousands of microscopic spores are housed like secrets within page-like “gills.” They look like bible paper: thin, opaque, gilt-edged.
Each segment is chock-full of seeds-in-waiting. Stories, primed to unfold . . .
But for now, potential, at rest. (Go and do likewise. Luke 10:37)
From such small beginnings
In Oregon, one venerable honey mushroom, found underground, is estimated to be 2,384 acres in size, and more than 2,400 years old!** Stroganoff fixin’s to feed the planet.
Still, big and small remain relative. Viewed from the ground, this two-inch toadie looms over the decomposing stump. It commands the frame.
Similarly, viewing worries from “under our circumstances” skews our outlook. Dread overshadows everything, especially child-like trust in God.
And where trust falters, worry thrives.
Might delight be the antonym for worry? The way we give the boot to foreboding?
Let’s tame our get-er-done agendas this week. Get out of doors. Watch for delight.
If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and unmeasurable.** —Rainier Maria Rilke
MAKING IT PERSONAL
Google “fun facts” about an element of nature you’re curious about.
You might also like these posts.
High-octane worries? I recommend Worry Less So You Can Live More, by Jane Rubietta. I love Jane, and I love this book! Find it here, on Amazon, or order from your library or favorite independent book store. http://tinyurl.com/nmw9ohq
- ** Giant honey mushroom (scroll half-way down page) http://tinyurl.com/m46ehpg
- http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-fungi.htm# (accessed 11/3/15)
“The Lord delights in the well-being of his servant.” Psalm 35:27