Recently we had our first frost of the year and it was quite the chilly morning. That didn’t keep us from venturing out for our morning walk, however. Not too long ago, Hollie and I decided it was a good idea to go out for a walk every morning and take the kids with us. Since I work a regular job, it’s mostly Hollie and the kids who enjoy the walk every day. Yet even at work, I’ve started to make it part of my routine (usually as part of my lunch break) to venture outside, breathe in the cool fall air, take in some sunlight, and consider the beautiful colors of the season. Indeed, the leaves are lighting up with color right now. It’s one of the reasons fall is my favorite season.
Around this time five years ago, I took our older girls Emma and Rylee on a day trip to Skyline Drive which is about a half-hour away from us. Hollie wasn’t feeling well that day and I decided to show the girls something interesting, fun, and worthwhile. While we atop one of the mountains surveying the magnificent Shenandoah Valley below, I pulled out my Bible and read from Psalm 19:1 to the girls. It was one of those moments when, as a part, you want to remind your children of the One who created all the beautiful things they were seeing before them.
Sadly, we’ve had only one trip back to Skyline Drive since then. We let the “busy season” of our lives take over to the point where the enjoyment of God’s creation largely took a backseat to so many other things. In general, the only time we saw the mountains again in such detail was on our way to see family in Ohio. Sure, the kids had their appointed time outside as kids usually do. But what about us as parents? What about the family as a whole? When we visit Hollie’s parents in Ohio, it’s a good opportunity to unwind and really enjoy the outside. They live in a very rural area and we sometime hike through the woods. If we happen to be there in the spring, we’ll hunt for mushrooms too. It’s a nice respite from everything.
So we want to incorporate that back into our lives and even make it part of our schedule. Unless the weather gets really bad, we’ll try to go for a walk as often as we can. There’s something about experiencing creation which is simply good for the soul. God created the heavens, forests, fields, mountains, and meadows–first to glorify Himself, but also for our good. We were not meant to be detached from it or otherwise barricade ourselves from it. To do so necessarily reduces our ability to be in awe and experience genuine wonder. I often ponder whether living in the largely sterile environments of modern Western culture hasn’t been one of the catalysts of the rampant secularism we see today. As a pastor I knew once said, “God created the land and man created the cities.”
Back in September we took a trip to the beach right after a major storm had passed through the area. It was a unique opportunity to see all kinds of sea life as the storm washed them toward the shore. We found a number of whelk shells (with live whelks still inside them) and a whole bunch of other cool things. Of all the kids, I think going to the beach left the biggest impression on Zoe because she talks quite often about wanting to go back there. It’s never too late to get out and explore what the Lord has made. I’ll go so far as to say that it’s good for the soul. While it may seem like you’re taking away from the list of stuff you need to get done, it’s actually an excellent way to redeem the time. You won’t regret it.