Walking to work this morning at 3 in the morning, I was not thinking beautiful things. Nope. Not at 3 am…the alarm had gone off and it had taken a good 10 minutes of standing beside the bed to ensure I was awake. As I dressed I found a spider on my fleece sweatshirt. And if there is one thing that can wake you up at 3 am, it is the site of a spider crawling down your shirt. Two things probably jump out to you about this.
1) First of all, fleece? Really, in August? Yep. Here in the north country, it’s all about fleece and wool just about year round. Especially at dawn…its chilly!
2) Second, spiders? What gives? Well, one of the few downsides of this gorgeous island we spend our summers on is the concentration of spiders. Not just little spiders either or harmless spiders that can spell things with their webs (a la Charlotte’s Web). Here on Malcolm Island, we get big, ol, red, wolf spiders. Honestly, they are called wolf spiders and they can’t hurt you, but they can give you the willies. Especially at 3 am. Especially as one crawls down the front of your fleece sweatshirt.
So there I am, now firmly awake, heading down to work at 3:15 in the morning. The rest of the property was quiet and dark and I wasn’t feeling very happy. My family is away for a few days as Heather prepares for her first triathlon, and truth be told I’ve been missing them quite a lot lately. Heather is really good at sending pics and videos from all the kids’ adventures as they visit with family in Spokane but it still is lonely when they are gone. So I’m tired, wide awake from a spider (and not happy about this), and feeling bits of loneliness. Not a great combo.
But then I stop halfway down the hill between my log house and the main lodge where I need to start making coffee and breakfast for the staff. The wind that had been blowing over the last 2 days has stopped and the ocean is perfectly calm. What’s more, I can hear in the dark, schools of herring feeding just off shore. Herring tend to do this as they get gathered together by salmon or birds feeding from underneath, they school and can actually boil the water. In the absence of any other human sound, the boiling bubbling of sounds from these bait fish a few hundred yards off shore sounded so neat. Then I looked up and saw this– the biggest collection of nighttime stars I had seen in months. Being on the coast, clear star-filled nights are actually quite rare. It was amazing. I just stared up and let myself get lost in the galactic star show above as the herring kept boiling and stirring up the water down below me in the dark somewhere. Then across the sky shot a shooting star. And instead of hurrying off to work, I just sat there for a good 10 minutes. Staring at the sky, listening to the sea, just taking it all in. And I thought of beauty, and how we can miss it so often as we focus on our weariness (aka 3am wakeup call) or our fear (aka the spider). If we stop sometimes on a hill, God can break into our sullen moods with a bit of beauty and grace to touch us with his love. Did you know that every good and perfect thing comes from God? You can read it here for yourself, or here, and it’s true. Everything on earth that is true and beautiful and good and loving is a visible reminder of a good God that loved us so much He set us up over Creation to enjoy the gifts of the natural world.
And like the Wilco song with the same title as this blog post, I realize how often the Father God sits in heaven and says to me, “Scott I am trying to break your hardened heart with my incredible creation. Stop, listen, look, and see Me when you see the beauty of the natural world.”
So I sat and witnessed the beauty of the created order as the rest of the world slept. And it was so nice. Thanks God for breaking my heart with such beauty this morning. I needed that.