Manna Meditations, Day 2
Blue Ridge Parkway. Black ribbon of road:
I let the car swoop and dive through the curves, trying not to look at the vistas.
The views: it’s why people come here, you know. There are overlooks every few miles where you can pull your car off the road and stand in awe. The valleys unroll before you, cloudswept, for fifty miles or more.
But this is not what I have come for.
There was a time in my life when I feared winter. It closed over me every year like a black curtain, walling off the light. Suddenly I’d find myself in a small dark room, with a darker presence hunching in the corner.
In those winters, all I could see was ugliness. Shade after shade of dark.
But now, I stop at the overlooks and scuff around in the weeds, my soul flooded with wonder.
I am not looking at the vistas. I’m looking at tufts of long winter grass, waving like soft pale feathers against the sky. I’m marveling at the still-brilliant green of the moss. Finding elegant lines, cracked into boulders, or water-carved into soil.
Something has changed in me. That I have eyes to see all this? I call it Miracle.
On an overlook, my iPhone dies, so I cannot take more photos. That’s all right, I think. I breathe in the frozen air, and with it, the initimacy of this moment… just the mountains, the Maker, and me. I walk down the slope, looking toward Poages Mill. Stretch out a hand and clutch a frozen stalk of frost-killed Daisy Fleabane, its once-white petals now crystallized into tiny copper stars. A constellation in miniature. And suddenly I am overcome by the idea that this dry dead stalk is just as lovely as the flower in full bloom.
A different kind of beauty. Subtle as a whisper. Pale as winter light.
God, I think, give me new eyes and ears, out here in the quiet.
I climb the hill to the car. Fire the engine. I trace the Parkway back the way I’ve come, not looking at the peaks, but listening to the wind around the car as I swish and swerve down the spine of the mountain.
Ah, Lord. Sometimes your voice is nothing but a whisper… And it is good