Recently I was granted this simple pleasure. How I delight in writing about the little things of life – and how often as I do they assume great stature as they become evidence of the love God has for us. This brief moment, seconds only, was the start of a day that was coloured by the evidence of God’s presence and the variety of His creation. My heart sang in praise – and as I recall the occasion, it does so again.
I woke up this morning in a mist of confusion. Sheep? Could I hear sheep? I had gone to bed late and had intended to sleep in on this Saturday morning, but now my confused over-stretched mind was registering sheep.
I opened my eyes and sat up. The blinds were open and the view that greeted me took my breath away. I had been here for a few weeks – speaking at various events, writing in a somewhat lackadaisical way, and relaxing with friends and family. I had woken to this view every morning during that time. I had seen mist and heavy cloud, rain and full sunshine. So what was different about today?
There was not a breath of air and the lagoon was as still as a mill pond. It was the time of the full moon and the tide was as high as I had ever seen it. Just the occasional island of reeds broke the surface of the water. The clouds obscuring the mountains in the distance were suffused with pink and gold and were reflected in the water – as if heaven was enjoying the glory of the moment from the surface up as well as from the top down. The lagoon looked like a tranquil lake set in some mountain range.
Yet I knew it was tidal. I tried to take a mental picture of the sight to recall later for, within six hours the water would be gone and the mudflats would be exposed. Beautiful in their own right, they would be the domain of a commotion of waders, sifting through the salt-wet soil for any delectable morsels they could find hidden in its sticky mass. But for the moment not even the tidal flow disturbed the surface of the water.
The little town, clustered around the opposite end of the lagoon still slumbered for it was very early on this summer’s morning. But it was because of the early hour that the panoramic view was so breath-taking. For the town with its quaint white washed buildings, nestled in the spotlight of oblique sunbeams and was, itself, bathed with rose and gold light. It was as if the Creator had taken a paint brush and chosen some delicate water-colours to wash the whole scene with wonder, for it was only the town that was illuminated. The sunlight had not yet touched the hills that surrounded the small huddle of buildings and their dark green, almost brooding presence served as a foil for the brilliant glow of the sparkling little town.
I absorbed all this in a second or two. But what about the sheep? The very first time we had stayed here we had been able to see the hillside towards the sea. But now the trees had grown and the pasture was no longer visible. On this breathlessly beautiful morning the sheep had decided to graze here and were greeting the day with their own particular hymn of praise to their Creator. I smiled as I thought of them. Their voices held such happy memories for me of times spent in their presence as they wandered the slopes above the lagoon. Intent on their breakfast they were not concerned about the beauty of their surroundings.
For me they added an extra dimension to the exquisite morning. Not only could I see the simple beauty of the scene that spread before me, but I could hear the dawn chorus of the flock as it joined the prolific birds singing their hymns of praise and my heart soared in its own song to our Creator.
The light endured for a fleeting moment as the sun rose higher to herald the new day. But I knew that I would remember its glory and rejoiced with creation at the imagination of our Creator God, potter, artist, song-writer, shepherd.