I awoke to the sun shining through my window. Outside the leaves were a vibrant green, dew shone like diamonds on the grass, the blackbirds and bluebirds joined together in a sparkling chorus, and my heart rejoiced in the freshness of the air.
I looked over to my sister, sleeping in the twin bed neighboring mine. "Are you awake?"
"Yes," she said, stretching and yawning.
"You want to go outside?"
She was game, and, not waiting to shower or get in our Sunday clothes, we made such arrangements as we could in our impatience. She pulled on her cowboy boots with her mismatched pajamas and I donned a rosebud housecoat over my pink embroidered nightgown, left my feet bare, and we tiptoed through the quiet, sleeping house, all the lights dim except for the grey dawn creeping in through the windows, and ran into our secluded backyard.
Glorious day! The neighborhood was almost as still as the meadows down at Grandpa's, and Gretchen and I closed our peripheral awareness and pretended we were indeed in an old, wild field on the brink of the Victorian era. Skipping over the grass, we sang in our best operatic Julie Andrews impressions from one of our favorite musicals, The Sound of Music. I executed a couple wild ballet leaps down the slope––very badly I may add––, and, after exploring all the wild places in our yard, we snuck into the woods in our neighbor's lawn. The only path was a dry creek bed, full of twigs and clay, and Gretchen was quite shocked to find me willing to walk in bare feet down the path. But I exalt in all sorts of pioneer-esque pastimes, including walking barefeet through precarious places. I did happen to get a splinter, however. It was worth it.
The Red Spider Path, as we call the creek bed, because of its population of spiderwebs with occasional red spiders on them, was quite overgrown since our last excursion down it. Tree roots stretched voluptuously across, twisting and twining with green ivy and dead bracken, the cane that grew all throughout the forest was dead and brittle, rustling in the wind, and the sun shone through the leaves, painting the brown forest path with polk-a-dots of gold and white.
Emerging suddenly into the Land of Paradise, as we so name it, the scene took our breath away, for the oppression of the cane and the dark, close trees opened into a long, grassy creek, full of chattering water and wild-flowers growing on the soft banks, and overshadowed by tall, strong, beautiful oaks. Where before it had had a well-kept, prim prettiness, it was now overgrown and thrilling with untamed loveliness.
The trees soon grew too open to continue further without the neighbors seeing us, so we skipped back down the creek bed, up the slope, and indulged in a vigorous hoeing of the garden. The hard labor reverberated in our bones and souls, and the sweat on our brow brought to us a resurrection of hard work and sacrifice for the beautiful plants and their blossoms, promising a harvest of winter vegetables to grace the supper table.
Inside once again, we, having rejoiced in our fellowship with God's creation, prepared for our fellowship with God's Church, our spirits delighting in the beauty that flows forth from the Father's bosom. As George MacDonald once said, 'All lovely sights tend to keep the soul pure, to lift the heart up to God. The senses filled with the delights and splendor of creation reveal to us hints of His majesty, goodness, and love.'