Just a mile from home is the entrance to a hiking trail. Its access is hidden, just off the edge of a busy road. You would never guess such beauty was so close unless you knew the path was there.
The pathway follows the bank of the Deschutes River, winding through a canopy of trees, up a gentle incline, and across a wooden bridge.
Each step revealing nature’s best.
A pair of swans nesting near the willows. Geese leading their gaggle from shoreline to water, all the time watching carefully for those lagging behind. Deer drinking from the bank and a red tail hawk flying low overhead. Her talons clasped tightly on what would be her meal for the day. Wildflower buds cresting the soil, and songbirds filling the silence.
God’s creation showing off her beauty.
You can get lost in thought meandering down the path but today…
Today, I wanted to be fully present, experiencing all that nature had to share, discovering the hidden treasures sprinkled along the way.
Continuing down the trail, an object captured my attention. It was a rock painted turquoise precariously nestled in the fork of the tree. The words “be kind” painted in black. Someone had taken great effort to place the rock just-out-of-reach of passersby but close enough to communicate its message.
I tucked that encouragement in my heart and continued my walk.
About a mile down the path, another turquoise object caught my eye. This time the painted rock was balanced on a boulder. The words, “Hug your dog” scribbled on the surface, two paw prints bracketing the instruction.
Take the time to slow down, spend time acknowledging those who care about you, and show them you care – hug your dog.
My walk went undisturbed for a few miles, until a rainbow appeared, nested on the trunk of a fallen tree. Another stone creatively adorned with the colors of refracted light. No words this time, just a reminder that even in the fiercest storm, hope arrives.
Making my way up the final hill leading back to the street, I found my last treasure, joy.
Cradled by a large moss-covered boulder, joy was scribbled in white on a black rock.
Spend your time caring and loving.
And when life gets tough…
Look for hope.
My river walk shifted from a delight in nature’s spectacular to reassurance. Small messages scattered along the trail to remind me that,
… the God of hope fills me with all joy and peace as I trust in him, so that I may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 New International Version (NIV)(verse modified to personalize)
BeLOVED, I pray you find Him amid your everyday ordinary lives, in the beauty of nature, and in those minutes, you think you can’t carry–on.
Keep your eyes focused on His truth and remember God provides hope, fills us with joy, and brings peace.