There is a park bench off the walking trail which is my goal and reward. I think of it often as the brain is telling the rest of the body it must go faster and farther while the body... in particular the feet... grumbles in return that it wants to just sit thank you very much.
Where at the end of the long walk and before starting the van for the short ride home, I rest and listen to music and nibble on a snack to make certain my blood sugar is not too low before driving. On that day it was a handful of Easter Jelly Bellies from the snack size Zip-Lock bag tucked in a fanny pack (along with a cell phone, keys, medical bracelet, and driver's license). :)
The bench sits facing a small Parks and Recreation kiosk that looks a bit like a wishing well except where one would expect to see the well, there stands a bulletin board behind glass doors. Normally it is full of instructions and announcements but on this day it was still in winter mode so only a few xeroxed sheets were to be seen behind the glass... and one lovely picture of red roses in bloom.
I had noticed the picture the past couple of weeks, perhaps cut out of a magazine by the employee assigned to update the kiosk. But that day I realized what a gift it was, something which took little time for a person to grab scissors and add to the empty space on the kiosk announcement board... for that season in which nothing was blooming except on the pages of a glossy magazine.
It was a gift of unexpected Beauty.
As someone who likes to ponder Beauty, I stared at it for a long time while listening to Beautiful lyrics on the itty bitty iPod. This was the first day the temperatures were comfortable enough one didn't need a jacket and the breeze on the trail had been warm. Beauty in many forms...
Although listening to a very old hymn set to a modern arrangement, my thoughts instead turned to a verse from John Denver's Annie's Song...
"You fill up my senses
Like a night in a forest
Like the mountains in springtime
Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert
Like a sleepy blue ocean..."
I thought about Beauty on my drive home through the forest on the country road, as I turned on the gravel road to my house, and as I cut my own surprise bouquet. For this was also the day I found unexpected Beauty in my backyard.
The lesson that day was one He teaches over and over in my life... perhaps because in this fallen of all worlds I need to see it often. He reminded me one must look for Beauty in unexpected places.
I must make it a habit, a part of life as familiar as brushing teeth and making that first pot of coffee in the morning. During seasons of spiritual winter... and they do come to all who follow Him at one time or another... it is essential we look for the Beauty in unexpected places.
Perhaps you are to be that person... like the employee who placed a picture of red roses in the kiosk... you and I are the people God uses to provide Beauty of all sorts to those around us... sojourners making their way on the journey to the Source of all Beauty.
I walked yesterday in freezing temperatures after a night of heavy rain. The bench would not be a respite in the cold damp weather so I made my way directly to the parking lot where my van was the only vehicle in the lot... not a day conducive to outdoor fun as the week before when the parking lot had been full.
I noticed as I walked past the kiosk that the picture of the red rose was now removed, the bulletin board behind the glass was full of xeroxed announcements as the Parks and Recreation Department was now in warm weather mode.
Soon the sights and sounds of the season will follow with real flora and fauna but I am very grateful to the person who took the time to share unexpected Beauty in winter... even if it was only a picture of the real thing.