The birds are singing as if they know a secret I do not. Their joyful song dances around on the cool breeze. Unlike me, they don’t have a care in the world. They flit from branch to branch, following me along the trail to sing over me. As usual, they sing a chorus together, each with their own part. It is a beautiful song. I determine to set my ears to it instead of the troubled thoughts in my head, even if just for an hour. My steps on the trail create the rhythm and set the pace as the bass line. A few moments into my hike and already some of the burden is lifting off.
The river on the right, giggles as it gurgles and roars as it rushes. It says to me, “Let me carry away your worries. I can wash them down the mountain if you want me to.” I agree to allow it. I tune into the river’s portion of the song and my soul releases its anxiety into the current. The rocks cry out, as the water blasts over them. They create variation in the tune and the layers of music soothe my soul.
The trees, still naked from the winter, whisper their part. They fill the background, since their leaves have not unfurled completely. They softly wave and a breeze lifts my chin, so it can kiss my cheeks ever so softly. The gentleness of the trees is precious to me on this day. Steadfast as ever, but holding back so as not to shatter the fragile peace I am discovering along the path. They rock back and forth as if they are rocking a baby to calm her. I am ever so grateful for their understanding.
I wind along, leaves crunching under my footfalls; adding some auxiliary percussion to the song. The roots in my path make it uneven, and force my head down to carefully take each step. My eyes fall on a red heart among the green leaves of a groundcover. It is God’s love letter to me. He leaves them in my path always, no matter where I am or what is happening. Today it is a literal footnote in the song, just in case I missed the interpretation of the notes all around me.
Soon the sounds of the waterfall ahead drown out all the others. The water is throwing itself down in abandon, the way water does when it is rushing to the lowest place. It sings joyfully as it sacrifices itself to bring me a crescendo. The sight is stunning, but the sound takes precedence today. My spirit needs the refreshing it offers. I feel the cleansing of my soul like a fresh shower. I reach the end of the trail, lie on my back on the bench and close my eyes to hear more clearly. My heart beats too fast to enjoy the calming rhythm, but as it slows from my climb, I feel like I become part of the song.
When I open my eyes, the trees are standing watch over me. Their arms make a shelter to protect me. They are my shield. The crisp blue sky above them adds silence to the song. I take notice of how the silence joins the tune. The clouds are inaudible, yet they are moving with each note, willing participants. I join in the quiet part of the chorus by watching and listening.
The conductor of this piece is the sun. Its warmth and light have brought me to this moment of being sheltered within a song. I decide sheltering in place is not a bad thing. I lie back to rest and stay put for a while. My soul releases the stress. My spirit soaks up the peace. My body relaxes. I hear God’s love song and I know he is my Shelter in Place and there is no Place I’d rather be.
Psalm 91:1-2 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “You are my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”