"Why do you like being in the woods alone so much?" I know I ask Luke way too many questions. Thankfully, his love for me helps him tolerate them and sometimes he even answers them with great depth and a hint of warmth. like this time; "It is where I feel the most like I am really a part of it, God's creation, it is quiet and I am me." He often asks to go in the woods behind our house alone. Happy, singing, talking, digging, crouching, walking and pausing every few steps.
Levi on the other hand has only ever gone into the woods alone to cry. Levi is a full two years younger at age 7 and is bursting with life and emotion. He asks to go when his cheeks are already flushed and eyes are brimmed. He comes home cheeks still pink and clear eyed; back to my eternal enthusiast. Right now even Ian, age 2, feels at home in the woods. He will set out on a path made by Luke and not look back until I can only make out a dash of color through the leaves. The woods to my boys have become a safe place. They know the boundaries and seasons. We collect and create and display inside what we find out there. The woods in our backyard brings the wilderness into safe exploration, complete solitude with the Creator.
The boundary the boys cannot go past is the fallen log, the big one you have to straddle to get over. Once they get past that they can't hear my voice when I yell for them or be seen by me craning my neck standing on the picnic table. The wilderness is different than the back woods. It is unknown, unexplored. I think God calls us into the wilderness and not just the back woods. He calls us to what feels unsafe or unknown, past the boundaries we have set. I love Wendell Berry's writings. Not just because we share a birthday or because he was an amazing poet,farmer, and naturalist. He understood the relationship that God intended man to have with nature and all that relationship would teach us. We have felt all the emotions he has described. We are about to climb over a big boundary we didn't think we would. But the One who created the known back woods and the unknown wilderness is leading us.
I am now beginning to call the move to Basque "The next BIG adventure." The perspective being shifted from having to leave what we love and what is safe, to being able to go into new experiences and relationships that will stretch the pegs of our hearts and minds bigger. Ah, I would love a heart and mind stretched out by God. I hope you get to take a walk in the woods this week. That you get to be surrounded by trees and not people. And that you get to cry, sing, pause, explore God's creation past a safe boundary.
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you."