Maybe it’s the fact that I live in the desert, but I get downright joyous around any body of water. Thankfully the Verde River delivered and was flowing wide and strong. I trekked up and down the banks for miles, exploring every little unspoiled nook and cranny. It was still a chore to quiet my thoughts, but got a whole lot easier as time passed and I basically wore myself out.
I don’t think I would be exaggerating if I said that I saw at least 100 different species of birds, raptors, and waterfowl including some I’ve never spotted in Arizona. I also ran into many free-range cattle grazing and drinking from the river, including a massive steer with a spectacular set of long horns. That one reminded me of the fake steer head that used to hang above the entry to that steakhouse and I had to let out a big chuckle. God is good.
As the time slid by, I started noticing smaller and smaller details, including some curious green frogs that let out a little sound like a bird chirp as they dove into the water. I also ran into an enormous mushroom that defies description, flourishing in a shady spot. As for those cattails, they were simply the largest I’ve ever seen anywhere. Truly, it was like stumbling into some kind of lost world… the kind we used to read about when we were kids.
I must have sat there by the river for a couple of hours while the silt settled back to the bottom and the waters cleared. Yea, I smoked a good cigar too, which didn’t hurt either as far as I was concerned.
Eventually I got back on my feet for the final stretch and sipped the last of my trail water. What makes the final stretch so great is the fact that I’m contentedly beat from the exertion, thoughts at peace, and I’m heading for home.
Just before reaching the car I stopped to rest on a leaning tree, which was fortunate, because I had the opportunity to notice one more small detail around a busy ant hill.
Having already experienced such a diverse slice of flora and fauna, I was somewhat surprised that I was so riveted by the little scene. At first glance they looked so frantically busy, but then I began to see how purposeful they all were. I would even say, peaceful. True, it was virtually impossible to recognize any distinguishing features from one ant to the next, but it struck me quite profoundly that God knew every unique feature and purpose of each ant, right down to the smallest of details we can’t even begin to fathom.
What a journey! From the heavy weight of Drudge headlines and other worrisome thoughts to the simple wonders of mere ants. The ride home was awesome!
The enemy never tires of throwing rocks into the pool of our thoughts to disturb the peace. Some folks seem to be able to snap right back, while others like me have to trek all over the place –– repeatedly –– to get back on track. Hey, whatever it takes, but I think that Our Lord is always patiently trying to show us a better, or rather the best way.
I just wanted to share that with everybody. If nothing else, it just reminds me that none of us are ever alone. Ever!
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