In every moment, every movement, every detail, like a fragment in a living mural, creates afresh the image of the invisible God.
Night begins to melt driplessly, as first those stars on the eastern horizon, then reaching up, across and westward fade from view. The creation of a new day unfolds in a perpetual succession of nows.
The leaves of the trees are limp and still – then they flutter briefly like so many butterflies trying to take flight in the slightest of breezes, that passes then across the meadow as if exhaled.
In the fading darkness, but well before the edge of the eastern fire is lit, the robin shatters the stillness with a series of emphatic chirps. A cardinal alights in the tiptop of the birch tree and sings the morning, instantly answered by another cardinal just to the west. The wren in the cedar trills to his partner’s response. The growing symphony is predictable, but always new, a chorus of the constancy of God.
A cottontail rabbit nibbles some last clover and disappears into the edge of the tall field grasses with a bounce. A pair of squirrels chase each other corkscrewing down the oak trunk. A young whitetail buck, his first antlers thick with velvet, are now longer than his ears, freezes, as his nose and ears test the path ahead. Ten minutes behind, a doe and trailing fawn come into view just as the first glints of sunlight race across meadow and gleam their rich roan-red coats.
A piercing screech overhead reveals an eagle on set wings spiraling heaven-ward on the rising thermals. He passes out of sight. The sky looks vast and empty except for a sliver of the waxing moon showing pale white in the growing brightness. The day moon is a reminder that the even larger vastness of space and stars and planets are all still overhead, even when hidden by the brightness of the sun now at full zenith.
A honey bee envelops a white clover flower, and then another. A tiny sweat bee hovers nearby, his transparent wings almost invisible, give his flight the appearance of the miraculous. Two white butterflies dance on the air above the purple clover.
Another breath of breeze, a bit more sustained, ripples through the tall meadow grasses. You can watch the breeze move across the meadow and pass out of sight. The grasses become still once more, as the breeze is like a wave that has washed upon the beach and disappeared into the sand.
A hummingbird, close enough that I can hear the buzz of his blurred wings, stops abruptly on the feeder for a quick drink. Then he darts off like a spark spit out of a fire low across the meadow. A trio of chickadees – perpetual motion awing - bounce through the limbs of the ash tree and out the other side.
That ash tree’s feet are all in deep unbroken shade, but if you trace up into the branches you can see the filtered and dappled sunlight paint shimmering shadows along the upper branches that have the same effect as sunlight reflecting up from the tiniest of ripples on the water of the pond. There, along the shore, a cackling red-winged blackbird grabs hold of a cattail stem and sways briefly like an inverted pendulum.
The Mary-blue chicory that opened readily in the morning now begin to close tight in the heat of the day, but the Queen Anne’s lace interspersed among them remain open wide.
A small flotilla of clouds form to the south. The dry air cannot sustain them, and as they drift silently to the east they become wispy and formless.
Two alert hen turkeys shepherd their combined fledging broods across edge of the meadow in the slanting afternoon sunlight, feeding on clover and insects.
Five sandhill cranes, flying back in to the pond after a day of feeding in the nearby fields, are greeted with a volley of urgent, raucous trumpets from a group that remained at the pond.
The sun settles into the western horizon like a hen mallard settles onto its nest of ducklings. The swallows swoop this way and that in today’s final feeding frenzy.
An indigo bunting lands on a nearby branch; its metallic blue feathers barely find enough light to glimmer.
One last puff of breeze moves out across the pond in the slightest of ripples, and then the water is still as when the first shell ice of late November sets.
The twilight has not given in to full darkness when Venus flanks the slivered Moon that is now bright in the deepening sky as the Heavens begin to be relit.
"God, who creates and conserves all things by his Word, provides men with constant evidence of himself in created realities.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 54