6:15 the alarm screeches.
I roll out of bed, pull on some trackies, a hoody, sneakers and walk out the door, at least halfway to consciousness.
The birds are already awake.
As I walk down into the Gorge, I switch off the music playing in my headphones, rip them from my ears and instead listen to God.
“Be still and know that I am God.”
Like a whisper spoken behind cupped hand into hair, he stills my mind and awakens my senses.
A blue wren lands on the path ahead, his mate flirting nearby.
Wattle trees punctuate the scrub with their sunny blossoms and the air is still.
A jogger puffs by, “Good morning!” She’s one of only three people I pass on this pre-brekky walk.
I’ve made the decision to get serious about my exercise, which equates to a couple of gym sessions and some early morning walks each week. When I set the alarm the night before, half expecting to hit snooze and miss the opportunity, I didn’t imagine this. This nourishing clarity of being alone and walking with God before the day presses in.
“Be still and know that I am God” – that line from Psalm 46:10.
It soaks into me and I’m wearing it, dripping with it, filled with the joy of it. I want this feeling all the time, I tell God, who feels as near as my shadow.
The juicy sun is orange and watermelon shining through branches and touching my face like a sticky kiss. It mounts the sky, rising as I make my way home. Home, where piles of clutter need tidying, the washing basket is an avalanche of Bonds and Pumpkin Patch, the dishes are crusted with day-old porridge.
Lately, the pressures of the menial have jostled and jangled with increasing noise until the adrenalin near chokes me.
I’m walking home and not loving the thought of what waits in the day ahead, so I pray. I give it to God.
“Thank you for moments under your big sky that make me nostalgic for peace.
Wattle blooms, wrens and sunspray that remind me where I fit in your design.
Thank you God, give me more – peace that fits under ceilings as well as sky.
I want your peace to follow me home, in through the door and onto the tiles where a little one will coo, ‘Mama, mama’ and stretch out her arms.
Usher it into my kitchen where meals are prepared while phonecalls are made and benches are wiped.
Sit it down at my table where family joins at meals and friends are entertained and kids colour-in.
Plug it into this computer where work assignments are received and dispatched and sometimes the magnitude wells into fear.
Tuck it into our beds where subconscious thought weaves into dreams, and bones and muscles are restored and repaired.
But most of all, God – worm it into my head where lists run down and down, the scratchings of must-do and don’t-forget and catch-up.
I’m back where I started, at my front door, turning the handle and kicking off shoes.
Peace restored, ready.
(These photos are from another walk in nature I had recently – but with the company of some special friends and family – not to mention a fresh little joey and his mum!)
First published in The Examiner Newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday October 12, 2015.