His eye is on the sparrow

Feeling at my wit's end, I took a walk.
Kathleen Norris

Sheep field, Biegun Wschodni

Sheep field, Biegun Wschodni

In her book, 'The Noonday Demon', Kathleen Norris wrestles with acedie, or soul-weariness. She finds consolation, not only in prayer and psalmody, but in nature:

'Feeling at my wit's end, I took a walk and noticed a bumblebee entering a hollyhock flower. It surprised, touched and cheered me ... If a bee could find sustenance in a patch of weedy roadside hollyhocks, perhaps I could as well. If, as the gospel hymn reminds me, 'His eye is on the sparrow', then it is also on the bee.'

A world ablaze with significance

I had a very similar vision of a hummingbird sipping nectar from a flower. This has helped me to adopt the right posture for what has been an arid spiritual journey over recent months. My journey has demanded intense effort, perseverance and no small degree of ingenuity, to find sustenance in God. The hummingbird also spoke to me of adaptation: I am growing and developing through a succession of challenges, within a specific environment, which contribute to my ongoing fitness and survival. This is all part of God's gift and provision.

I never cease to be amazed at the potency of nature to speak to us. Norris urges us all to lead 'an intentional symbolic life' in a world 'ablaze with significance, potent with meaning'.

If I were to imaginatively reflect on my felt experience of today, I wonder how nature would figure in it, and what I might learn?

Tom Ingrey-Counter