12 May 2020

A Moment to Reflect- 13

“Be still and know that I am God,” writes the Psalmist.

Scarcely a ripple on the water, the loch below us seemed to be swallowing up the clouds, only the gentlest of breezes, and you could almost touch the silence, as we looked down on Inveraray and the blue waters of Loch Fyne far from the everyday world of rush and busyness. 

It was a moment of absolute stillness.

Only in still water do you see crisp reflections. And only when am still, do I know how to reflect on what really matters.

Today, and in some of the days to follow, I want to share with you some images of stillness and calm, together with some of the thoughts of favourite writers.

Let them be for you a starting point for your own reflection.

Today’s quotation is brief, but it reminds us that although there may be moments of beauty and tranquillity in Nature that cause us to stop and stare, we can actually find that stillness anywhere and at any time.

“Within yourself is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” ― Herman Hesse

11 May 2020

A Moment to Reflect – 12

Picking up on the theme of forests again, the Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote:

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” ― Robert Louis Stevenson

It’s as if he is trying to describe something that he knows is indescribable, a feeling of connectedness with the trees that he cannot explain but which he knows is good for the soul.

Was he aware at that time of just how important trees really are to the life and health of the planet? As we know now, they are in effect the ‘lungs of our world.’ They breathe for the planet- exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But they also do so much more. According to Roger Leakey, “they also function like the skin, heart, kidneys, and intestines of the Earth, while acting as pharmacies, factories, and food pantries for humans.”We know the horrendous and life-threatening damage that the current Covid-19 virus is able to wreak on the lungs and other vital organs of the human body—could it be that through massive deforestation, and other acts of ecological destruction in recent decades, we human beings, have been doing something similar to the ‘lungs of the world’ with similar life-threatening consequences for our planet-home?

9 May 2020

A Moment to Reflect – 11

this forest is just outside Inveraray

One of the characters in Barbara Kingsolver’s novel “Unsheltered” says, 

“Most people look at a forest and say, ‘Here are trees and there is dirt.’ They will see nothing of interest until someone takes them by the hand. I am astonished by how little most people can manage to see.”

And yet, as another author, Matthew Sleeth, points out,

Trees are mentioned in the Bible more than any living thing other than God and people. And every major character has a tree associated with it. 

So, here are two things I’ve learned about trees. 

  1. Trees in a forest actually communicate with one another in order to protect each other, or so scientists now tell us.
  2. Trees are musicians. They make complex, percussive music simply by drawing up moisture from the ground. The snapping of cell walls under the pressure of the rising sap is what makes the sounds, but what is it that makes those sounds rhythmical and melodic?

Next time…take a closer look… and listen