Sox sneaks out of our great big, perfectly good, fenced-in yard. To our multi-colored Cock-a-poo mix family dog, freedom is the ultimate plan. She wants so badly to roam free, sniff newly-discovered scents, and come dangerously close to dogs twice her size. We never know how she gets out; we definitely try to prevent it, but escape is her goal and, alas, we cannot prevent her escape. My husband is concerned about it and wants to scold her when she finally returns, hot and thirsty and satisfied. I, on the other hand, understand her need to break free, discover uncharted territory, and take in the resplendent colors of nature. Okay, a dog, who sees in black and white may not be so concerned about the resplendent colors of nature, so that may not apply directly to her. As I breathe in the crisp, fall air, I am filled with contentment and appreciation for this beautiful earth, which has been created for our benefit. Heavenly Father wants us to feel and experience joy in His creations. He could have chosen a dull, dark planet on which we would live, but instead He commissioned Christ to use the best of matter, to organize it into a wondrous place, and create a glorious and beautiful abode for His children. Isn’t that just like Him? It’s His purpose to give us His very best, at least the best we can currently imagine. I am quite sure greater designs are planned for us if we pass the tests and trials of this life.
I depart in the early afternoon to go in search of Sox, who I am sure would be enjoying a grand adventure. Almost immediately, I spot her as she hangs her head low, knowing she is not supposed to leave our great big, perfectly good, fenced-in yard. I kneel down on the grass and allow her to slink up to me. I attach her blue leash to her green collar, pat her head, and decide she needs to walk a bit more.
I need to be in nature, feel the cool breeze, smell the musky fall scents, and look up into the snow-capped mountain peaks. I would love to walk up into the mountains, but it would be quite a hike just to arrive at the foothills. So if I can just move in their direction, I can feel somewhat satisfied. All my life I have coveted a quiet place in nature to gather and organize my thoughts and to have conversations with my Father in Heaven. I walk directly to such a location today. I will not share exactly where I found it at this time, but, if pressed, will tell anyone searching for such a spot. I cannot selfishly guard it because it doesn’t belong to me at all. A clear mountain stream flows through the middle of the pasture. A well-built tree house and fort constructed by some creative children shade the area. The colors of emerald, jade, olive, russet, auburn, tan, and pallid white from the mountains beyond become a the perfect backdrop.
I sit and watch happily as Sox, released from her leash, sloshes through the cold, mountain spring water. As I study the craftsmanship of the construction of the tree house and attached fort, I speak aloud the thoughts that have been plaguing all morning. Absolutely sure I cannot be overheard, I give voice to the ideas that need to be cataloged and filed. Confident my words are reaching Heavenly ears, I smile with gratitude at my solitude and good will at securing a great prayer locality.
Finally I decide to venture on, moving east toward the mountainside and stride back into a fine neighborhood of people. Families are securing Christmas lights on rooftops. One man fulfilling that mission comments begrudgingly he is completing a task on his honey-do list. I walk alongside two men on horseback, one paint and one quarter horse. Of course, I’m speaking on a subject about which I know little. I ask one, "Is that a paint?" "Yes," he answers smiling. "I love paints." He replies, "They are beautiful, aren't they?" "And gentle," I add. The other gentleman asks, in facetious offense, “Don’t you like my horse?” “Of course” I laugh, “I love the black color on your horse.” They laugh either at their own joke or about my obvious lack of knowledge about the four-legged species. I smile and remember my good fortune to live in such a community. Neighbors’ friendly waves and warm greetings enter my heart, and I am filled with joy once more!