Mary Beth and I live along the banks of the Mississippi River, just a few miles south of Little Falls. Our house is a late 1960’s vintage brick rambler. It is best described as a combination work farm and money pit, as we’ve put a good deal of TLC into it. For a few years now, I have ranted on and on — mostly in the winter — about it being too much space for just two people, too much yard and snow removal work as we grow older, too much area to heat and cool, too everything. I am grateful that MB tolerates my bombasts, but peeved when she simply pretends not to hear them. She’s a very good pretender.
There is, however, an annual ritual — orchestrated by God — that changes my heart, refreshes my soul, and rejuvenates my spirit. It is called the “spring thaw.”
How splendid it is to see the river’s ice darken a little more each day. Ice, whose talons have been stubbornly affixed to the shoreline, begins to loosen its grip and ultimately amble downriver alongside sticks, branches, and sometimes chairs and dock sections.
Pelicans calculate the thaw with precision, showing up as soon as the river is open wide. A parade of brilliant white pillows meandering in dark blue water, they feed and commune for at least a few days before continuing their northward pilgrimage. As do their cousins, the trumpeter swans.
Canadian geese speed low past our windows, whooping and calling, “We’re back!” Eyes aflame with confidence, they remind me of that scene in an old cowboy movie, where the proud Sioux warriors practically fly down a hillside on horseback, yipping and whooping, to battle their enemies.
Not to be overlooked
I’ve come to realize that God is not simply the catalyst of creation. God is creation. I breathe God. I drink God. The beauty that surrounds me, and the unbroken orbit of the watery stone God has thrust around a flaming star, bolster my faith.
Creation. How often we overlook the wonder of our world. It is, to me, a glimpse of paradise, a harbinger of what is to come. Look around you and see what God has done, and continues to do. Let the perfection of God’s plan strengthen and uphold your faith.
Good stewards, gaze at your river, your field, your mountain, your child with new eyes; and never again doubt that our Creator is intimately involved in your life and the lives of those you love.
Curt Hanson, Director of Stewardship and Development, Diocese of Saint Cloud