When we moved to our current home, it was spring: green and lush and full of budding life. Our house was tucked into a corner of a hill with a gentle stretch of woods behind, and I marveled at the soft roll of the land every time we walked through the neighborhood.
But until that first winter stripped the yards bare, I didn’t realize how dramatically the hills leapt up around us, how many more hills I could see from our upstairs window than I ever imagined when they were hidden behind spring and summer’s lush leaves.
At first I felt silly about discovering the hills six months after we moved in. What had I thought was underneath the rising sweep of trees around the road’s bend?
But as our first winter settled in around us, I realized that I couldn’t follow the fullness of the line of hills until it was traced white with snow, the hills rolling higher and reaching further than my summer eyes could see.
I notice God in seasons. The surprise of springtime buds after the long winter, promised and delivered. The lush drench of summer green, fertile and waiting. The burst of autumn leaves, brilliant and fleeting. The hushed blanket of winter snow, stilling and silencing.
I find that God speaks differently as the seasons turn. Whether in whispers or in silence, in laughter or in wind, God’s voice is amplified by the world outside and echoed in the land around me. Like the shimmer of a summer lake in the brightness of morning or the cold blue dark of white stars scattered in fall’s night sky. God’s voice becomes warmer or colder, soaked or dry, brightly colored or drabbed in grey.
If I open my eyes, if I pause to look around, I am surprised every single time to find God there, outside as well as within, fuller than I expected.
Lately as I watch the hills let go of winter, the words of Wendell Berry spring to mind:
The hill is like an old woman, all her human obligations met, who sits at work day after day,
in a kind of rapt leisure, at an intricate embroidery. She has time for all things.
Because she does not expect ever to be finished, she is endlessly patient with details.
She perfects flower and leaf, feather and song, adorning the briefest life in great beauty
as though it were meant to last forever.
This beautiful image evokes the work of God the Creator, patient and loving like an old woman resting in pure delight of her craft and the beauty around her.
When the world presses in with its frantic whirling, I find stillness and strength in this image of the hills: God’s steady, quiet witness to our lives rolling on around the strong, silent center.
Perhaps this is what continues to draw my eyes to the hills in every changing season: a longing for God whose strong silence stills the racing worry of my own heart and mind.
I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
Where do you notice God in the natural world around you? In the changing seasons of your life?
Copyright 2015 Laura Kelly Fanucci
Photo copyright 2015 Laura Kelly Fanucci. All rights reserved.