I am always on the look out for new places to take a hike or to go for a walk during my daily travels. (And yes – I do know that you can technically go for a walk almost anyplace!) But when I go for a hike I don’t want to walk just any old place. I want green and trees and a lot of both if at all possible. If some wildflowers or hills or a river can be added in as a bonus or three then I am absolutely thrilled.
Since Jack became a hardworking employee of the Louisville Zoo – I have been admiring Joe Creason Park at least 5 or 6 times a week. It is beautiful even as you drive by. I am sure that all of you native Lousivillians knew all about Joe Creason Park. After all – it has been here right in the middle of Louisville since 1966. But I hadn’t spent much time in this part of our fair city except for trips to the zoo with the McFarland men or for trips to Audubon Hospital to visit Lutherans I love and care about until about 3 weeks ago.
On Saturday morning after we dropped Jack off at work – Jason, Will, and I decided to go on an adventure and to explore Joe Creason Park.
It was a perfect July morning. The sun was shining. It wasn’t blistering hot yet. (I don’t mind the heat – thanks to my thyroid disorder/disease – but the rest of the family thinks that temperatures in the high 90’s can get toasty. It is so strange how none of them need a cardigan when it is a chilly 80 degrees outside. . .)
The park was busy – but we were able to socially distance safely. We enjoyed ourselves and all of the green and the trees.
And then as we rounded a corner in the trail we spotted pure McFarland boy joy. There right beside the trail was the most amazing climbing tree!
It was absolutely – positively magnificent!!! Will was in love. Truly – it was love at first sight. He climbed.
Will was brave and daring.
Jason and I stood nearby and admired our little guy’s climbing skills and his adventurous spirit.
We delighted in listening to Will’s chatter as he explored the tree. Our sweet little 7 year old is quite the talker! (He gets that from his dad . . . but I am sure all of you who know our family knew that already.)
As Will climbed and explored – I took in just how beautiful the tree was. The brilliant green of the leaves in the July sunlight. The sweep of the branches. And the bark. Have you ever taken the time to look at the bark on a tree or two or eighty-three? I mean really look at it? I will admit that being a nature nerd – I have contemplated the beauty of bark. (Yes – I claim my nature nerdiness proudly!) And this tree had particularly beautiful bark. It was simply gorgeous. And it felt so very interesting as I ran my fingers lightly over it (again with the nature nerdiness).
If you want to be dazzled by our God’s creative spirit check out bark on trees sometime. The patterns are amazing and beautiful and so creative. And we almost never even notice it!
Finally – after climbing and exploring for about 300 years – Will was ready to finish our walk in the park. But the minute his feet terra firma – Will declared – “we have to show Jack this tree! Jack will LOVE it!!!” And – of course – Will was right – we did indeed need to share our discovery with Jack.
So we were back at the climbing tree in Joe Creason Park Saturday evening almost as soon as Jack finished his shift at the zoo. And Jack did indeed love the climbing tree too!
Even after a long day of working in the hot July sun – Jack climbed and explored and climbed some more.
Jack and Will climbed and Jason and I walked. It was a perfectly perfect arrangement.
Jason and I would walk a loop and check in. We would make sure that everyone was still unbroken and happy.
These sons of ours are a daring pair!
The McFarland sons would declare that they were having a blast and needed more climbing time.
So Jason and I would walk some more and they would climb some more.
We repeated this interaction multiple times.
It was simply a match made in heaven! By the time I checked my pedometer at the end of Saturday I had clocked almost 20,000 steps and our whole family had been blessed by the glorious – amazing – awesome beauty of our Lord’s creation.
Where are you experiencing God’s presence in your own lives these days? Are you able to take a moment or two or ten to seek God’s presence?
These are truly strange – trying times – but our Lord has promised us that he is with us each step of the way. You are not alone. The God who created the heavens and the Earth walks with you!
You are all in my heart, thoughts, and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –