“This day and this night,
May I know,O God,
The deep peace of the running wave
The deep peace of the flowing air
The deep peace of the quiet earth
The deep peace of the shining stars
The deep peace of the Child of Peace.”
~J. Philip Newell, Celtic Prayers from Iona
Over the weekend I had the privilege of being on the North Shore, about an hour north of Duluth. Driving there in an intense fog, we arrived long after dark, to spend a few days with friends at a family cabin. The fog was so thick as we drove the last several miles that we had no landmarks to give us our bearings. All we knew was that every now and then, the fog would clear and we would catch a glimpse of the cold, sparkling waters of Lake Superior out the passenger window. Just as suddenly as it had appeared, we would again be plunged into the enveloping fog, and the lake would be gone from our sight once again.
Being an early riser, even while on vacation, I was awake the next morning to see the sun come up over the Big Lake. What had been invisible to me in the foggy night was now shining in the morning sun. As I sat watching the morning sky turn numerous shades of pastels…..pale yellow, blue, turquoise, lavender,…..I was reminded of the many times the fog of night has obscured my ability to see what becomes clear by morning’s light. I thought of the many times I have wrestled the fears and demons of the nighttime only to find myself calmer and better sighted in the pure light of morning. Perhaps you have had similar experiences.
From my picture window lookout I could see how the ice cold waters of winter had made coats for the enormous rocks that formed the cove in front of me. Large stone walls had been splashed by what had to have been tremendous waves, over and over again, until they now wore icy, thick layers forming what looked like icebergs. The waves were much calmer now but I could still see the waves pushed and pulled by the strong winds. Dancing back and forth across the water, wind became visible.
That evening we were graced by the full moon making its presence known in the winter sky. Slowly it moved across the sky until it stood just in line with the cove, with the cabin’s windows. A brilliant shaft of white light traveled from moon to the ice formations below. As we gazed at the moon bathing the earth in light, I thought of all the stories I have heard of children who beg their parents to give them the moon. This is not metaphor but real. They want that big, shiny, round jewel. At that moment, it would have seemed to me like the most natural thing to want to reach up and take possession of the moon. Such beauty!
To be present to the daily rhythms of sunrise and sunset is a gift and something we rarely, in our fast paced world, allow ourselves to notice. Of course, sunrise and sunset over Lake Superior gives this practice a certain profound nature. But, I wonder, how might my life be different if, for just one week I would be present, really present to both the rising and the setting of the sun. How would it help put everything else that happens in a day in perspective? Somehow I think it might be something to consider. Do you?
I think of the ancient Celts who had prayers for the rising and the setting of the sun and many other daily experiences. The daily rhythms of their lives were always kept in the full light of their traveling with the Holy. The understanding of the imminent presence of God in such mundane tasks as washing the floor, milking the cows, building the fire that would warm them and cook their food, was never far from their lips, their heart. Some part of me longs to travel in such close Presence. How about you? From sunrise to sunset, through the profound moments of a Full Moon to the mundane of laundry, to remember that with every turning of the day, the Holy and I make our path together. It is in the noticing that we come face to face with the truth. A truth to be remembered and claimed with the rising of each day.