The scene always seems constant. For the past twenty-two years, we have made periodic trips to this part of the forest. I am sure that things have changed. The tall, majestic redwoods reach further into the sky than they did before. The route and depth of the river has shifted and moved with the times. Generations of animals have come and gone. Yet, I find a consistent Presence that reassures and nurtures the soul.
I wish I could take each friend there, one at a time. We would journey through the sun-lit road and paths, careful to enjoy the clover and be on the lookout for the poison oak that guards our steps. We might come across a cougar track or perhaps a doe with her young children. Carrying on we would circle around, over, and through fallen trees that stretch as far as the eye can see. Coming to the river, the beauty and stillness that lies all around strikes hard.
Of all the nuances of the scene, the one lingering part of experience that stays with me is the silence. Everything seems to build to and amplify the beauty of the silence. Whispers in the trees find themselves lost on the river rocks. The current travels silently by, wearing ever on the rocks until there are only smooth edges to pass over and on by. Everything seems to work toward this end. The animals are silent. One’s steps through the forest, on the soft bed, are silent. Even the birds are silent in their flight.
Against this backdrop, one hears every bit of noise in sharp contrast. It is easy to distinguish sounds that are compatible and complementary. Examples of this are the splash of a fish breaking the surface and the cry of a bird looking for its mate. The scene provides an experience that confirms that “the speech of a good person is worth waiting for; the blabber of the wicked is worthless.” (Proverbs 10.20)
God is looking to talk with each of us. Are we willing to wait and listen?