On the April 16th, one-year anniversary of my Mom’s passing on, I had realized that since she had been interred in her home state of Minnesota, this Michigander living on a shoestring budget, would need to pay his respects from afar. But… where could I go, instead?
Well, I believe after we depart this earthly realm, we do become part of something much bigger… part of everything in nature. With that in mind, it dawned on me that the very locales I needed could be found in two very special places… all part of nature… all within walking distance. Even better, I had already been there before.
So, on that early spring morn, with my shoelaces tied tautly, I went on a hike.
My first stop was the very same, out-of-doors nursing home bench where I’d gone to mourn… on the morn of Mom’s death. There I sat, once more, in solitary, silent meditation.
From there I proceeded onward to a nearby park on the west side of my hometown.
Though my words won’t do it full justice… we’re talking about 50 acres of rolling terrain, wetlands, nature trails and the calming “white noise” generated by a long winding river.
This is the home turf for a diverse ecosystem of flora and fauna… this serenity beckoning all free spirits to… wander beneath towering pines, elms, oaks and maples… traipse through fields of clover… behold a vast variety of wild flowers and groundskeeper planted perennials… hear the buzz of bees… the honks of geese and quacks of ducks… the birdcalls of sparrows, robins and countless other feathered species… eyewitness the occasional visiting deer, foxes and waddling woodchucks.
Well… I wound up walking away from this experience feeling so emotionally uplifted that, on my way back home, I vowed this would become my annual ritual.
Amazingly, for seven successive years, the fair weather ruled… but not so in 2011.
The overnight torrential rains had persisted well past daybreak. But then… just as my usual 9 a.m. departure time neared… the downpour abruptly ceased. In nearly jaw-dropping disbelief, I was out the door and on my way.
Of course… about halfway to my destination, the rains did return… but… even that had held off until I was passing under a dense canopy of trees… had been short-lived… simply turning off as I was emerging into the clearing ahead. God was not raining on this man’s, one-man parade.
The storm clouds then started to break and brighten. My own shadow dimly appeared before me on the sidewalk. By the time I had reached the nursing home and sat down on the bench, the sunbeams broke free… in their full radiant splendor.
Barely fifteen minutes had passed when, just as I was emerging from my deeply contemplative state, the clouds were beginning to roll back in… these overcast conditions persisting as I journeyed onward to the park and as I made my way back home… that blue / gray gloom eventually dissolving into the inky black of nightfall.
So, how could everything, in our normally buy-it-off-the-rack world, have been so tailor made, just to suit me?
Well, I believe this fleeting “Sliver of Sunlight” had been a bridge to the Great Divide. On that April 16, 2011 morn, I believe the warmth of Mom’s love, eternal, had been tightly interwoven in those streaming Earthward sunbeams.