Drinking from the Source of Love
Aug 2, 2009
One beautiful spring morning in Virginia, as I walked across our yard, I stopped, and stared at a truly lovely sight. There were three blue and purple and yellow irises waving at me, as if to say, “We’re here. Have you noticed us yet?”
In truth, I had not. I had seen them, but I had not regarded them. They were magnificent, and as I gazed at them, they became the center of my world. Their colors seemed particularly vibrant that morning. I was aware of them more than I had been before. I felt that I could almost disappear inside them, and rest among their petals.
I finally realized that the irises had not changed. They had always been there, waiting for me to stop and speak to them, waiting for my appreciation. They were eager to impart joy, but they were too often ignored. Instead, I would walk past them to our mailbox, busy with thoughts of money, and bills, and marketing and business.
Our farmhouse in Virginia was on a small hill, overlooking fields and woods, and surrounded by sunrises and sunsets that continually astonished us. I had started the practice of stepping into our back yard each morning, next to our old dug well, and stretching my arms up toward the oak tree that stood there, reaching beyond its branches toward the sky. I would look at the sky, and breathe deeply, and gaze at the wonder of the sunlight glancing through the leaves of the tree. I had always delighted in the luminescent color of leaves when they were caressed by the sun. When I was a boy, camping in Standish, Maine, I had loved lying on the ground in the morning, looking up at the sunlight streaming through the grove of poplar trees, with the morning breeze shaking their round pale-green leaves.
I had read in a book that if one looked carefully at a patch of blue sky, one could see hundreds of darting curls of white light, swirling across the sky. The author had alleged that these “silver streaks” were trails left by spirits as they traveled through the astral world. Whether they were spirits, or nature divas, or angels, or simply optical phenomena, like floaters in one’s eyes, was unknown to me. Yet, every morning, as I gazed at the sky on those sparkling Virginia mornings, I saw darting swirls of light. It was a comforting idea, that they might be nature divas, going about their tasks, caring for the natural world around me.
Living in the country again, in Indian Neck, Virginia, for five years, was a beautiful gift for me. I had lived in the country when I was fourteen, in White Rock, Maine, but since then, I had not been able to fully immerse my soul in the beauty of nature that one finds in the country. Standing under the tree by the well each morning, digging my bare toes into the grass, I realized that I had found a new prayer room. Indeed, one can pray in a small, bare room, like the monks of old, but I believe now that meditating in nature is the quickest way to find resonance with the invisible world of love and spirit and peace.
Our farmhouse was surrounded by six acres of land, with four acres leased out each year for planting corn and wheat and soybeans. We had reserved a long stretch of field below our house that was kept free of crops. We sometimes built a campfire in the field, and gazed at the stars with a telescope. One of my favorite activities was to go out in the field, all alone, when the moon was full, and pray, and look up at the moon and the stars and realize that God was present in the vastness above me, and all around me in the fields, and indeed inside of me. Those moonlit prayers gave new meaning to the phrase in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God”.
I now live in the city, if one can call Portland, Maine a city. Having lived in many cities where nature was running scared, including Manhattan, Philadelphia, Washington, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, I prefer to think of Portland as a friendly little town. I miss the beauty of the country in Portland, but I find tremendous solace in our frequent trips to the ocean “country”. One day, I hope to live in a farmhouse on a hill that stretches down to the ocean, and revel in the glory of both.
Until then, I remember the lessons I learned in my outdoor prayer room in Virginia, and try hard every day to clasp nature to my heart and drink from the source of love.
Peter Falkenberg Brown is passionate about writing, publishing, public speaking and film. He hopes that someday he can live up to his favorite motto: “Expressing God’s kind and compassionate love in all directions, every second of every day, creates an infinitely expanding sphere of heart.”