Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hemmed In

The woods are getting smaller and smaller.

First the beaver pond and environs was declared “No Trespassing” because of the ATV’s, dirt bikes, and snowmobiles. Then the back side of the hill—a huge territory—was posted “Keep Out” for the same reason. Okay, I thought. Once the forester leaves, we’ll have all these news paths on this side of the hill to enjoy.

We all know how that turned out—he left without cleaning up his mess. The woods on this side are nearly or completely impassable in places.

Okay. I’ve still got all the conservation land to enjoy. Both Pepperell, MA and Hollis, NH have been magnificent in setting aside large tracts for woods for the public to enjoy.

But I can’t enjoy them because, for the first time ever, the black flies (“no-see-um’s”) are swarming me. I used to be sorry for both Steve and Marj, who are succulent targets for these miniscule tyrants. “They never bite me,” I would say, injecting suitable regret that two people I love are so terrorized.
They’re biting me this year, in droves. I cannot go in any woods without being circled and snacked on. It’s to the point of intolerant, so I stand in my woods and wonder “What is going on?”

Is God hemming me in? That’s sure what it feels like. (And yes, I know it’s not all about me but circumstances are conspiring…)

I’m supposed to embrace this, am I not? Psalm 139 speaks to this so beautifully:

O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

You hem me in--behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

You have laid your hand upon me. I’ve always loved this concept.

I’m hemmed in at home, with my son’s family living with me. They are a joy and a blessing but I’ve still to learn how to focus without wanting to go play with my grandson or walk in the yard (no woods, drat!) with my grandpup.

Am I guilty of what the psalm speaks of in the most beautiful of poetry?

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths,A you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

Do I long to be with a dog when I walk so I don’t have to be with God? Slow to anger, full of love, abounding in compassion—why would I flee when His Spirit pours these wonders out on His children?

Today it’s raining. Driving rain or bitter cold, even a blizzard won’t stop me from walking. Am I racing to God, or flying away? If I buy a netted hat, will I be further hemmed in? Will I resume my walking—to or away from my Creator?

When Sadie or Maddie strains on their leash, we who love them hold them fast.

His right hand holds me fast.


Kay said...

I have a yearning in me to run, run run. (Not literally, heavens, no) But is it to, or from? I don't know. I don't know.

Thank you for your transparency.

And on a practical note. They say consuming garlic and B vitamins helps stop mosquito bites. I wonder if it would work for those other pests?

Accidental Poet said...

An alternate viewpoint - does being with a dog point you to the Creator, because you glory in the Creation?

Pam Halter said...

We are such visual people. Of course, we know God is with us whether in the house or in the woods. But there's something about His creation that brings a calmness of spirit and helps us focus on the Creator.

I know I pray longer and more fervently while walking along the Delaware River than sitting on my couch in the livingroom.

Does that make me a bad girl? I don't think so. It's good to recognize what works for us, and even Jesus withdrew to a lonely place to pray. I wonder if He looked around and remembered the joy He had creating ... sigh ...

Janice Freeman said...

One of the great joys in riding my bike is hurling headlong into the beauty of creation. It seems to heighten all my senses, and makes me rejoice in the adaptable body I've been given. I would be quite distressed if some of my favorite routes were cut off!

Nice idea on the garlic and B vitamins but Kathy runs from garlic like a vampire!