The contemplative Trappist monk Thomas Keating wrote that silence is God’s first language. I would posit that nature is the second.
Lately we have had balmy breezes coming off the tropical storms. For me they have been like an orchestra: soft strains of strings, followed by rousing stanzas of woodwind, brass and percussion, as the gusts build, reach an apex, then fall to a reverent hush. Indeed, the Irish poet John O’Donohue described wind as the first music. Summer evenings crickets and cicadas join in the chorus; fireflies fill the woods with their tiny lanterns of hope.
A flaming red and gold sunset fades into pastels and then into deep luxurious blue. Night settles on the woods and the whispers of night creatures begin to fill the air, sometimes punctuated by the hoot of the owl or the howl of the coyote, the “timpani” among the forest musicians.
When Terry and I lived on the lake, we would sometimes sleep on the dock. After a day filled with the sometimes near-frantic activity of boats and jet skis, the lake would relax into night. Stars would tiptoe into the sky to join the moon and we would be rocked to sleep by the gentle gliding of the water.
Though sometimes driven inside by discomfort before morning, we would often find ourselves wakened by sun’s first rays and the early conversation of birds: “How’d you sleep?” one might say. “Oh the baby kept me up! And now he’s hungry and I better get busy finding some worms!” I could imagine another responding. 😊
I have seen photos of hospitals in the influenza pandemic of 1918, with lines of beds moved outside so that sick people could get fresh air and sunshine. We can take a page out of that playbook and immerse ourselves in nature, which speaks to us in the language of peace, of healing, of hope.
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter.
Hope’s Café Bonus: Summer Treat. Make some fruit kabobs: cut favorite fruit into bite sized pieces and line up on a skewer (bananas, grapes, strawberries, raspberries). Serve cold.