I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately... and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived... I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life... (Henry David Thoreau)
Yesterday lunchtime, I went to the woods.
Hacking fairly deep into the woods, away from the road, I came to a clearing with a beautiful dead tree at its centre, bare wooden boughs elegantly twisting into the sky and a large flat stump just above ground level. I sat on the stump and ate my sandwiches and the silence of the wood enfolded me.
Except it wasn't silent. There was a veritable orchestra of birdsong: high treble chirps, lower warbling and occasional bass cawing. And there was the hum of insects winging past and the rustling of treetop squirrels. And, somewhere between sound and feeling, there was a very subtle breath of wind moving around the clearing.
I'd thought it was silent, but it wasn't. Nor was it noise. In fact, in the silence of the wood, I realised it was music. As I sat and let the silence and the euphony surround me, I closed my eyes and suddenly God was there. And I was loving Him.
I hadn't particularly gone to the woods looking for an epiphany. It was a nice day and I went to the woods to eat my sandwiches and pray a bit. But God was there first and He had amorous intentions. He ambushed me. He took my breath away.
After a while I started to mouth, soundlessly, words from Jesus’ Kingdom prayer, pausing after each phrase and letting the birdsong and the breeze and the love fill the moment and make it worship.
I came back from the woods having remembered that I am a man in love.