Sky Above the Trees

Today has been one of those rare, invigorating, cooler days in Florida when sturdy breezes shake nappers from their slumber. The sun coming through even shade-drawn windows makes it impossible to ignore a prompting to get out and let wet hair be unruly, as it’s blown dry by nature, or take a brisk walk off a beaten path, before sitting undisturbed to survey others living their own momentary bliss. Cyclists spinning their wheels on paved walkways, dog-walkers gathering at fenced in playgrounds for their four-pawed companions to have a taste of freedom, kite flyers catching updrafts while steadying crosswinds as their airborne toys spin and dive, or a young girl in a large corral putting a well- groomed horse through it’s paces—-all a part of what makes a beautiful Sunday afternoon worth stepping out of a weekly routine.

It may not be everyone’s response to these vignettes of recreation, but I found myself singing songs welling up from some deeply guarded internal reservoir. Everything from “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” (Mary Poppins) to “There is within my heart a melody , Jesus whispers sweet and low: Fear not I am with thee, peace be still, in all of life’s ebb and flow.” (That one came from pretty far back in the memory archives!). Needless to say, there seems to be a random recall button in the juke box above my shoulders, in response to events in the most unexpected places and settings….not all because of a picture-perfect day at a park!

I’ve become aware though, after letting melodies run their course by phrases or in their entirety, I resonate on a different plane. I am not performing for anyone, or needing anyone’s approval. It’s more about allowing spontenaity to recover something of value when so many things in life require a cooperation to conform to and meet others’ expectations or standards.

An osprey gliding over a lake caught my eye as it descended quickly to snag a fish with it’s claws, then rose above the glistening waters with it’s next meal trying to wiggle free. A ball cap with a race horse’s name sat on the picnic table beside me where I’d paused with my dogs for a drink: “Carpe Diem” (Seize the Day) was embroidered in purple on the white crest above the brim. (A few years ago this horse had qualified for the Kentucky Derby when he won the Tampa Bay Derby.)

I sensed a need to be “fully present”—-soaking in moments that offer a restoration of balance to recover from the trauma of recent tragedies and unsettling world events.

Lyrics to another song by duo, Nathan & Christy Nockels, who recorded “Gloria” as Watermark in 1997, summarized the feeling of days like today:

“Wish I could crash like the waves or turn like the Autumn leaves, in effort to praise You.

Wish I could smell like the forest, a fragrance lifting a mighty chorus, in effort to praise You.

Wish I could roll like the thunder, to leave the earth below in wonder, in effort to praise You.

Wish I could fall like the summer rain, and every drop would sing Your name, in effort to praise You…

But I’m such a limited creature, and my words can only paint so many pictures….but I must try…”

Today I was reminded of a larger sky above the trees, and how important it is to give ourselves permission to be more than cogs in a work machine; to go fly a kite, catch a breeze with a sailboat, or imagine what it’s like not to be earth-bound.

There is a sky above the trees, where spirits soar and songs keep them aloft.

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