Monday, December 21, 2009

Touching Souls

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” (Mother Teresa)

Two weeks after I graduated from high school I left the logging, ski bum town of 18,000 in which I'd been raised and headed across the country to live near Washington, DC. Culture shock doesn't begin to describe what I experienced but at 18 years old I was extremely fearless and spent every free moment I had exploring the city. I loved the history and the old buildings, wandering through the Smithsonians, visiting the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, going to Arlington Cemetery and sitting up at the Iwo Jima memorial at night to look out over the nation's capital and to watch the stars.

I explored Georgetown, Alexandria, the huge mall at Tyson's corner (our 'big' mall consisted of JC Penneys, KMart and a few mom and pop places)in which my love affair with Neiman Marcus began and the rural roads of Virginia. I ventured into Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio (to visit my grandma), and as far down as the southern states of Alabama and Florida.

While I didn't mind my time in the city, it was the quiet out-of-the-way places that interested me most. I loved getting in my car, turning on the radio and just driving to wherever the road lead.

I've lived in several places besides my hometown in Oregon that ranged in population from 350,000+ down to a tiny town of 217 where the pheasants out numbered the people. I've lived in towns at the base of the Rockies in Colorado, the Big Horn mountains of Wyoming, the coast of northern Georgia and on the Potomac River in Virginia. And of everywhere I've lived my favorite places are the small towns tucked in the mountains where the woods are just a few steps from my front door.

I don't know of any greater peace in life than being the one soul out on a trail surrounded by old growth pine trees and hearing the silence broken only by the breeze as it gently blows through the forest. Or walking beside the river and watching the small ripples form as it flows lazily along. For the most part, my footsteps on the trail, the click of my camera and the sound of my breathing are all I hear.

I honestly don't know how anyone hears God in chaos but I suppose there are those that do. I know for myself that I have never been able to. I guess I should be able to hear God speak to me anywhere, whether in the middle of a big city surrounded by noisy traffic and throngs of people or on the side of a mountain all by myself.

But there is one place that my heart truly longs for and where my soul finds peace. And that place is in nature.

8 comments:

Sarah Salter said...

Annie, I totally get where you're coming from. For 9 years, I lived in a city of 121,000-- not a really large city by most peoples' estimation. But when I got back to the country (Benson: population 3,300) I found my life again. I hear God's whisper in the crunch of the leaves under my feet and feel His presence in the twinkle of the stars over my head. The Bible is right when it says that the Heavens declare His glory and the sky shows His handiwork. Amen to that!

Amrita said...

Hi Annie that quote was very touching.

I live in a quiet place with 50 % less noise than other city parts, but its the mental, emotional and physical quiet i long for. I somehow manage to find God in the midst of my chaotic life.LOL.

I lived in the mountains for 4 years and long for it again.

Helen said...

I live near forest preserves. It's not quite the same, but I do get the opportunity to settle in away from traffic and be amongst the trees and the deer. You are right. It does feel good.

katdish said...

Maybe that's my problem lately. Every bit of nature around hear is being eaten up by suburban sprawl - including the pasture that backs up to our property which will soon be a subdivision. Sigh...

Marni said...

I can't believe you traveled so much when you were so young. I was afraid of my own shadow at 18...

Every summer growing up, my family always went to Colorado (Durango, Silverton, Ouray) and backpacked. I wasn't walking with God then, but I remember looking at His majesty and thinking, "how can you see mountains and not believe in a Creator?" So nature has always been a way God speaks to me. Thanks for sharing your picture and how God uses his quiet beauty of your backyard trails to speak to you. Love you girl, and still praying for you!

Rebecca on The Homefront said...

The pictures you included are simply breath-taking...and I agree whole-heartedly with you about the peace of being alone with nature all around you. It's something I long for, especially when things are becoming chaotic around me. I don't mind visiting the city once in a while (Ok, yes I do! ;) ), but my heart will always be in the mountains. Beautiful post, Annie!

By the way, I wanted to let you know that I have an award for you...it's just to say that your blog brings me happiness. Your photography does, as well. Thanks for sharing it with us!

Take care,
Rebecca

thereluctanthomefront.blogspot.com/my-first-bloggy-award.html

sarah said...

I love nature too - that's where I hear His whispers and feel the power of His gentleness

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