A Morning Like This …

A morning like this has the potential to cure many ills, especially of the mind and spirit. Hopewell Lake is in French Creek State Park – this morning I watched the sun come up here. (a privilege owed to taking a son to work nearby at 5:30AM)

Walking at the lake’s edge, I discover I’m not the only early riser. There’s a unique joy in being there with others as the world wakes up. As the mist covering the lake evaporates, I watch three men set up cameras on tripods to try to capture this divinely created morning with man-made gadgets. As expensive as their equipment looks and as experienced as they seem (I overhear conversations about settings/numbers/exposure) I know their pictures won’t be able to fully capture this morning at this place.

At the boat dock, a woman unloads her small fishing boat efficiently. After parking her truck and trailer, she gathers her supplies – fishing line, bait and cup of coffee. The surface of the water breaks only briefly as her electric motor pushes her quietly across the water.

“The best sunrise I’ve ever seen,” one of the photographers declares loudly, as if anyone there might be missing it. “I’ve set my camera to – blah, blah, blah.” Camera speak is a foreign language to me, but I’m sure the setting is the one he thinks will allow him to share the beauty of this sunrise with others not privileged to be there.

After staring in awe at the big orange ball climbing into the sky, I unload my bike, ready to involve my physical body in the morning. I planned to bike the local roads, but find myself not wanting to leave the lake and the park. I opt for a trail that allows glimpses of the water and circles around the lake to Hopewell Furnace – a nearby historical site. The roots and rocks of a few sections of the trail are more suited for hiking then biking, but with some pushes and lifts, I get my bike to the top. Biking through this restored “iron plantation” is worth the work.

The mist from the heavy dew lifting over the multiple layers of tree tops is peace – pure absolute peace. I hold my breath at the sight of three deer under apple trees in a stream of sunlight. I brake to get my phone to snap a picture, but they hear me and react. My chests hurts with beauty watching them run and leap away. The whites of their tails, their slender legs, the trees, the grass and the easy, effortless way they move – it’s beauty in motion.

After the ride – as the sun climbs into the clear sky, a shaded picnic table gives me a spot to write this. I watch a content kayaker fishing near the lake’s edge about thirty feet from me. His cigar smoke circles over his head and his relaxed manner shows he doesn’t have a care in the world at the moment. He watches with a smile as five geese come in for a landing nearby. They have perfect formation until a few feet from the water, then formation breaks as each lands at a different time or place.

It is a perfect morning – the birds are chirping, a slight breeze is stirring and the fragrance of nearby flowers drifts my way. (cliche intended) But real life intervenes and I almost jump at the sound of a weed-eater behind me. My perfect moment is the beginning of another workday for a park ranger and he has jobs to complete.

I prepare to return home, grateful for a morning like this – to help put the rest of life into proper perspective. The issues that seemed so big and overwhelming are reduced to a more manageable size. Life’s problems don’t disappear, but the intensity of them shrinks and I have hope again. Hope – not in me, not in mother earth, not in a person – but hope in the knowledge/feeling that it will be okay. I don’t know what okay means, but I know I like this feeling and I rest in the comfort that this feeling comes from the creator of all this beauty.

3 thoughts on “A Morning Like This …”

  1. Thank you for sharing that morning with your readers. There is something breathtaking about the morning before the rest of the world rises… it is fresh, and full of promise. God's mercies are new each morning indeed!

    As for the blah-blah-blah, like you, my strengths are in composition and capturing the moment, but my technical knowledge always left me struggling to capture things the way I see them in my heart. I learned as much of the blah-blah-blah as I could, enough to comfortably find my way around the manual settings, but nothing man-made could ever capture the beauty of God's artistry the way something God-made can see it.

    In my mind, I see photographers trying to capture the beauty of nature as God created it much like us Christians trying to be Christ-like. It is something we'll never completely master this side of the veil, but it is a goal we feel compelled to strive for.

    In the end, though, if I fall short on my blah-blah-blah knowledge, that's OK — a photo is only worth a thousand words — Christ is worth eternity, so as long as I focus on Him, all is well.

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