Sunday Morning in July

It’s a humid July morning. A Sunday. The sun is filtering through the leaves, creating a picturesque effect of green and gold stained glass. The golden rays fall to the forest floor like water over rocks. They highlight some areas and avoid others. The speckles of light seem to move slowly across the underbrush, making it as tall as the trees. Light and shadows, playing together in the woods. It is like I am sitting inside a painting.

The birds agree and want to be a part of the painting, too. They are singing their songs. So many songs. All different, yet beautiful together. Sometimes, I wish humans could be birds. The crickets and daytime insects are tuning up, to join in the song as the heat of the day increases. Each has their own part. A hawk gracefully, but noiselessly glides across my backyard. Listening to the song, but not participating today. With silent wings, it is like he is floating on the song itself. It is the wind beneath him, propelling him forward.

Other than the ceiling fan on my writing porch, there is no air stirring. It’s going to be a hot one. The hum of a lawn mower in the distance, a rooster crowing somewhere seem to be competing with the songbirds, but there is no contest. The songbirds win. No crows today. No hawks screeching. Only singing.

The morning light is gentle, almost sweet, maybe because I know the harsh afternoon light is on its way. The morning seems welcoming. Urging me to get moving before the heat. Calling me out, but I choose to sit and enjoy it a little longer. To soak it in and breathe deeply of the fresh air. I close my eyes. Inhale to capacity. Hold it for a few seconds. Exhale until I am empty. Repeat. It is a practice I use to put myself in the moment. To breathe is to live. To be aware of my surroundings rather than caught up in the activities of my day. Some call it mindfulness or intentionality. I call it worship.

This breath I have is a gift. Every. One. A precious gift. My breathing practice celebrates this fact. It causes me to stop and be grateful to God for the air I breathe as well as my lungs, which take the air in and out. It relieves my stress by expelling it out of my body. Then my body is more able to hear, see, smell all who are celebrating life around me. The birds. The bugs. The silent hawk. Even the rooster. The light. The trees. The forest. All so steadfast. All so happy, I can feel the pulse of life flowing out of them and into me as I inhale. They do not preform, they just are. They are still or they are singing. No thought required. It just flows out. Not a care in the world. They know their creator. They rest in him. On a Sunday in July. And all the other days. If singing is the birds’ worship, then breathing is mine. Every day…even in the heat. Even in the morning. Even on a hot Sunday in July.

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