Like many of you, I’m home bound. My state of Illinois issued an order last Friday that restricts residents from venturing out except for necessary grocery trips or doctor visits. But Governor Pritzker said the magic words on television last Friday: “You many go for a walk or go hiking.”
So as I went hiking, with this whole scenario in mind, I wanted to be unbound and off trail…as unrestricted as possible. There are discoveries to be found when unrestricted. And I found many.
If you see a field, winter/early spring is the perfect time to explore it. Too cold for ticks.The dried grasses do not hinder you. The ground is clearly visible. Everything that is hiding becomes revealed when you find it.
There are bones to be found. What an exciting discovery! Even though these bones seem useless, having its meat stripped cleaned, it is very important for small animals.
Do you see the tiny scrape marks? These are gnaw marks left by small rodents who are getting their calcium from the bone. Very important indeed!
I made other such discoveries such as this female duck strike. You can see her brown feathers everywhere. I didn’t realize it was a female duck until I found her head. This may be gruesome for some, but I find it fascinating. If you would like to see her head, click on the photo and look near the upper right hand side of the photo. I believe you can zoom in some after opening the photo. If you do not want to see her head, let’s proceed to the next photo.
I also found evidence of a male cardinal strike. Several red feathers in the mud.
But the mosses I found to be most exotic. It was 35°F when I took this hike. Quite cold. But in a section on the edge of the field, where trees and shrubs are found, the ground has its own ecosystem. The ground is a great deal warmer where these mosses grow.
And on these mosses there truly is another world.
The last two pictures are mature sporophytes on the moss. When the sporophyte is ready, it will release spores from that capsule at the top. Phyte means plant, so a sporophyte is just a spore plant. The green part of the moss is the gametophyte.
What I enjoyed the most was this part of a dead tree that a woodpecker drilled massive holes in. It could have been from a pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), they make huge holes, but their holes are somewhat rectangular, so maybe this is from another woodpecker. In any case some thing lives inside. Some thing made a home.
I asked it, “Are you in quarantine?”
It replied, “Never.”
“Oh yes.” I answered, “You may fly where ever you like.”
With all kidding aside, some people may be frightened by the events that are unfolding lately. But take courage, God is in control. He is the same yesterday, today, and for ever.
When I start to feel my anxiety rise, I draw near to Him.
I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have he light of life.
Being afraid is like walking in darkness. But we don’t need to stay there.
The other day I read the story of the woman who was caught in the very act of adultery. The men who caught her brought her to Jesus and said that Moses’ law commands that this woman be stoned for her sin. Stoned to death. Jesus, bent down and started drawing on the ground. (I always wondered what He drew.) Anyway, after some time, He told the men: Those of you that have no sin, cast the first stone. Nobody did. They walked away, one by one.
Here’s the thing… Jesus could have. He could have thrown a stone because He’s without sin. But he didn’t. He instead chose mercy. He looked at her and chose compassion. He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more”
I am that woman – figuratively
All of us are that woman in some way, whether we’ve lied or hurt someone. But Jesus chooses mercy. If we repent and accept that He died for our sins, we are forgiven and made clean in God’s eyes. A gift. And once you’re made clean to God, nothing shall put you in fear. Not your past life, not the current pandemic, and no event in the future. No one needs to remain in darkness. A free gift of light and life.
I like it.