Creation speaks to me. Always has. The smallest flower, the highest mountain…all of it is inspiring to me because it points me to the one I love, who loves me. Rain is my love language. The moon is my muse. The thing about nature is it is rarely silent. There is always a song. In the morning it is an actual birdsong. In the cool of the evening other creatures raise their voices. The stars join in somehow, though they are silent to the ear, their song pulses like a light show for the concert. What I love is that it is the same all around the world. Different creatures, different sounds, same song.
Ethiopia is lush and green at the moment. On the patio of where we are staying there is a marvelous view. There are so many shades of green I cannot name them all. It is a wide-open landscape. The tall grass is waving in the wind. The expanse of the land surrounds me and invites me to sit. To listen. To watch. A little yellow bird, which I am unfamiliar with, is flitting from window to window. He appears to be peaking in to see what we are up to inside. I don’t hear his song, but other birds seem to be chattering and talking among themselves. They are welcoming the day in a language foreign to my ears. Did you know birds speak foreign languages?
The sun rises bringing light, but not heat yet, because the rain clouds hover in the distance keeping the sun’s rays at bay. The sky is a beautiful blue-gray which contrasts beautifully with the green grasses and trees. The clouds float along in the sky. They are gray and white puffs which arrive and depart quickly over the fields dropping their loads, then moving on. Each minute appears to be a different painting as the scene changes in rapid succession. Here, you can see the rain when the gray reaches from the blue above to the green below. A stripe of downpour in the midst of an otherwise lovely sunrise. The thunder rolls around announcing the day has begun.
Soon the rains are gone and the sky clears for the activities we have planned, only to be interrupted by more rain scattered throughout the day. Because of the rains, the grass is tall and the mud is deep. You cannot see how deep, until you step and the mud runs into your shoes. Ankle deep, at least, deeper in spots. Muck boots are required when working outside in rainy season. Cutting grass in Ethiopia is unlike in the States. Here you actually cut the grass. Grab a handful, take your cutting knife and slice it down. Continue until your back feels as if it will break. Carry the bundles of freshly cut grass to the paths and lay it out to cover the mud and make walking easier. Repeat. It is just one job of many we take for granted at home, which must be done to keep this ministry in action. I add a lawnmower to my prayer list or at least a swing blade.
With the deep mud, the reforestation project is a challenge. This ministry believes in healing the land as much as healing the people. They plant trees by the thousands. We each get one to name and plant. We muck around, digging holes for our new tree friends, and plant them, along with a tongue depressor with our good tidings written on it. It is another outside job which takes place only when the rains stop.
When the showers blow in, step out of our muck boots on the patio and into our house shoes. We go inside and wait for the rain to stop, while playing with the children who live here. When the rain stops, we walk into the village to meet people there. We bring jackets in case the rain returns while we are out. We carry our jackets when the sun comes out and beats down hot. Put them on when the cool air comes in with the clouds. Jackets off, on, off, on. We sit and have coffee with the women in the market and listen to the chatter of a different language all around us. It is part of the song.
In the evening, back to the patio, I watch the sun fade away behind the clouds and the buildings going up next door. It has the effect of illuminating the clouds with a subtle pink and orange glow from behind. The crickets are warming up for Evensong. At least, I think they are crickets. They sound like cousins to the ones at home, as do the frogs. With the wet ground, it seems the loud chorus of frogs is the principle in the orchestra. The sun is gone. The thunder is back to close out the day. Clouds roll through and clear out again. Hyenas laugh and howl in the distance. Same, same, but different. At home, coyotes, in Africa hyenas. It something I don’t hear every day, and it reminds me that I am far from home. Yet, it is all the song.
The clouds clear out and the sky opens up. I do not recognize the stars above my head, but they are breathtaking just the same. In different arrangements than I am used to, I still see the glory of creation. The milky way seems closer and wider here. I think I see Venus and maybe Mars. Of course, the moon, my friend, is here as well. Other than those three, I am lost in the sky. Gloriously lost, in the song of creation.
All the star pictures were taken by Kristen Haley with her cool star filter. 🙂 I took the other shots.