It was a morning like no other morning I’d spend for a long time. I had the opportunity to indulge one of my passions—fly fishing—on a weekday not long ago. The sun was on its way over the ridge that sat above the Salmon River just below Stanley, Idaho, in view of the majestic Sawtooth range. The aspen were quaking with the slight breeze and the colors of the wilderness were in full array.
The morning was crisp with an air that levitated ever so slightly warmer above the river than on the water, where the ambient air was just a degree or two above freezing. The frost lightly dusted the dried weeds that formed a barely rigid crystalline barrier to my waders as I walked down the embankment to begin my first casts. As I began to cast, my line froze ever so lightly and moved through the guides on my fly rod, creating fresh layer of frost, making it difficult to cast and place my fly where I wanted it. I decided to wade across the river to a set of riffles and pools that would be first in line for the sun’s rays and its warmth to thaw the morning.
As I waded across, fighting the ever deepening current of the river, I took a moment to stop, rest and steady myself, lest I lose both strength and balance. Just then, I looked up to see an adult bald eagle, flying overhead, plumage glistening with a hint of orange as the sun’s rays caught it rising. It flew, intent on the water, where, I’m sure it focused on the possibility of a trout breakfast, and in one fell swoop, accomplished its goal. I envied it leisure and swiftness of purpose. Then it was gone around the bend.
I continued to work myself across the river and when I finally stepped onto the rocky shore, breathing heavily with the exertion and finding a sense of relief in solid ground, I stilled myself to hear a rustling in the trees above me. A snort (such as cattle make) came over the bank. Curiously, I climbed and peered over the grass to see a 4X5 bull elk standing in what seemed to be a favorite bedding site. He turned his massive head towards me and in a gentle lope moved to a safer distance, turning once more to survey me, then moved into the forest away from my sight.
As I stood there, I thanked God for reminding me of God’s presence in the magic of each one of those moments and reminded myself of the word of Psalm 95:
“For the Lord is a great God and a great Sovereign above all gods…
In God’s hands are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is God’s also…
The waters are God’s, who made them and who formed the dry land….”
As we move through these days of challenge—for us personally, as families, as a nation, as a planet, I would encourage you to be aware of the beauty around you wherever you may be—not just in the beauty of nature but of the events and relationships that remind you of God’s grace, love and mercy. There are times when we need to rest and gain strength, steady ourselves and gain balance to see the work and our place in it differently. I did and I am thankful for it.