My feet make a soft and muffled crunching sound as I walk slowly down the pathway carpeted with red pine needles and the rust-brown droppings of many white-tailed deer. As I look around through the tall, green, healthy pines on either side, I see glimpses of winter's snowy fingers still clutching at areas of the surroundings.
Scattered throughout are tall dead trees, standing naked, their trunk weather-beaten - their short and crooked branches like ragged arms - pointing off in all directions. Oak trees, stripped of most of their brown leaves, stand patiently in the shadows of their nearby brothers, awaiting the flow of sap and the new buds that will fill their branches with fresh, green life.
Long chunks of wet and rotting tree trunks lie here and there; their darkened shapes half-covered with thick, brown-gray grass and twigs. Underneath each one - an incubator for the next generation of grubs and insects - just some of the tiny caretakers of the forest floor for the coming season.
Continuing, I now ascend terraced steps streaked with green moss. At the top of the hill, the trail opens into a clearing, forming a beautiful lookout point, 20 to 25 feet above the lake. From here I can see clear across, to the tall dark pines, standing like rows of soldiers along the opposite shoreline. As I scan their ranks, the white of an occasional birch tree gives further accent to the alternating areas of dark shadows and varying shades of green.
The ice cover that remains on the lake surface is a mixture of white and dirty gray. Everywhere, faint tracks of snowmobiles and other vehicles crisscross the surface - a record of the ice-fishing and other recent winter activities taking place here. It's melting now, leaving 5 to 10 feet of open water around the lake's edge. Sand crystals in the shallow water hold just a hint of the bright glitter the sun will bring to the shoreline in the weeks ahead.
It’s so peaceful here. The light breeze from across the lake holds a slight chill but is balanced by the warm rays of the sun as it filters through light, wispy clouds in a soft blue sky. The hushed sound of a jet far above, mixes with the sound of rushing water at the dam a couple hundred yards away, forming sort of an audible backdrop to the panorama before me!
The sound of a crow in the distance rises just above it all, as a robin dances across the dry grass a few feet away. It won't be long and she'll be collecting cherished little bits of twigs and grass for a new seasonal home.
Soon the April rains and the welcome warmth of the sun will transform the red-browns and the dark gray of dead grasses, to the lush green of spring and summer.
I sense, somehow, that everything is waiting - waiting for the Creator’s touch and the silent cue to burst into life! In my heart… I guess I'm waiting too! Even so, come quickly, my Lord Jesus!