Monday, September 21, 2009

submerged (perhaps drowning) in nature

The kids and I ventured out for a "nature" walk this evening. It's been since spring (Lent to be exact) since we'd visited the wooded trails of the Maria Stein Spiritual Center, so we were overdue. It rained this morning, and I just love that their paths are now paved, and awesome for pushing a stroller, rain or shine.
We loaded up the van right after dinner, and headed off for a nice stroll. We arrived and were greeted by the sweetest little yellow butterfly who danced around each of us as we piled out of the van. It seemed to enjoy the attention as one of the kids caught it, then each took turns holding it gently on a fingertip. The sweet little butterfly stayed with Sam most of the walk, and I had to check it once or twice to be sure it was real. Just so cool that it wasn't inclined to fly away...far, far away from our noisy bunch. I finally persuaded Sam to "let it go" and he literally had to set it down on the ground...the darned thing just wouldn't leave us.
Anyway, we eased down the winding wooded rosary path, discovering that several of the new grottos were near completion now with beautiful statues of St. Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes, as well as a gorgeous statue of Our Lady of Fatima. We're so blessed to have this wonderful little retreat so close. The kids stayed busy gathering colorful fallen leaves in the prettiest shades of, orange, yellows. In fact. The leaf-lined trail was so beatiful, I can't even tell you what the trees looked like. About halfway through the trails we realized that we were being swarmed by these tiny gnat-like bugs. They weren't biting or pesky, but our clothing was covered in we'd walked through a cloud and they'd all clung to us. It gave us all the heeby-jeebies a bit, and it hurried our pace more than I'd like. Everyone was swatting, wiggling and trying in vain to rid themselves of the tiny stow-aways. We continued gathering leaves and walked rather briskly back to the van (okay, some of the kids were sprinting) and ended by stripping a couple kids of their outer layers to shake off all the buggies. We laughed about it later on our way home.
We ended the evening with a little craft time. All the kids (except Sam, who was met by neighbor boys in the driveway when we got home) seemed to enjoy arranging and gluing the leaves onto construction paper which will hopefully get covered with contact paper, and become placemats for the fall season...a reminder of the beautiful gifts of nature God provides for our viewing pleasure.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down from God, the Creator of the heavenly lights, who does not change or cause darkness by turning.


Beth said...

Sounds beautiful...I'll have to take our kids out there sometime soon!

My Mom just told me that they used to dip the fall leaves in some sort of melted wax to preserve them. They looked pretty "sprinkled" around a centerpiece or other decor. I love the placemat idea...the kids would have a ball with that!

Pam Kaiser said...

It sounds as if your butterfly was a tour leader of sorts. Perhaps our Lord presenting Himself in a new way?

jamie said...

Pam~ my thoughts were certainly turned toward the Blessed Mother thanks to our little yellow host. It was beautiful.

Anonymous said...

When we lost my friend in high school to a car accident, we always used sightings of monarch butterflies to say that she was there with us on earth. Maybe that butterfly was a sign to you that someone up above is with you.

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