Light in the Trees

Last Sunday, Natasha and I biked around the lake near our house, kids in tow. One section of path went beneath tall trees, with little foliage below. The sun shone through the leaves above. In an instant I missed my old walks through my parents’ woods. So later that day, when we went over to my parents’, as we usually do Sunday evenings, I grabbed a walking stick, my faithful dog, and headed out.

I took many walks in these woods as I grew up.  I’m convinced, in my biased way, that those 60 acres are the most beautiful in Indiana. With hills and trees, canyon and creek, I could walk those woods for hours.

I traveled along my old route, to a place we call the Grand Canyon. It was nearly five o’clock and golden light shimmered through the leaves overhead. I stopped. My normal state is to keep walking, to keep moving. I don’t sit idle well. But I stopped and I soaked it in and I prayed.

Beauty lifts the soul. Is it possible to look on beauty and not thank God, not worship him and long to know him more? We are blind enough that it is possible.

I do not walk in those woods often enough.

For me as a writer, I think it should be more important to be beautiful than to be concise; more necessary to look up than to barrel through plot points, to dwell and dawdle in the places of depth instead of worrying if the reader might get impatient . Hopefully, someday, when people look back at my work, they do not say simply, “That was clever,” or “That was exciting,” but “That was beautiful” and “That was true.”

Because the truest things are the most beautiful, if only we would present them with the glory they deserve and not with the industrial efficiency of a world that gathers knowledge as an attic gathers dust.

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