Tag Archiv: footprints

Small Conversations

A Tranquil Winter Forest at Dusk, by Louis Apol

A Tranquil Winter Forest at Dusk, by Louis Apol

The snow brings its joy in tiny thrills. I love the wood stove.I love the whole world singing new. Trees stand gloriously enrobed. Even garbage sparkles along the path. Best of all are the footprints. In most seasons, whoever has gone before me does so in secret. Yet footprints are now one of the chief pleasures of my walks. Highways of creatures cross my own. I can’t be sure of who is whom, but yesterday I counted at least five separate creatures in abundance crossing at one place or another the snow I was walking.

I pray in fits and starts, on my walks and otherwise. Mostly, I am lousy at it. I manage a sentence or two or three, get distracted and start again only to find my mind wandering in yet another direction. I go for months with the discipline of regularity then slip softly off the wagon unable to get back on. It’s an off the wagon stretch with a string of failed attempts to climb aboard again right now.

The world seems such a serious place. Rome is always burning in one way or another, and it’s Advent after all. Hardly the time for cessation of communications. My shortcomings frustrate me at the same time I struggle to force myself out the door to the woods, where it’s infinitely easier to talk. Yesterday as I tromped through the snow, I had in mind it was a good time to send up some official supplications, but the usual distractions cut them short.

Inside, that bothers me. Out there, not so much; what I do or say doesn’t seem to matter. Especially in winter’s forests, there are little invisible hand-built bridges between the lowly here and grand there. With trees towering on all sides, it is difficult to feel alone. Some prayers I didn’t work to say yesterday.

“You make good feet,” I said. And later admiring yet another set of prints, “Really, they’re exquisite. Especially with feet, you are amazing.”

The sky did not rain angels. Birds did not softly circle my head, and there was nothing to cross off a list.

Perfection and expectation, O foolish impostors for grace, get thee hence. If I can get on my coat and my boots, the great conversation awaits.