Thoughts from a reflective walk in the Lake District, Cumbria by my friend, Gill Henwood.
“This morning I took this panorama from the edge of Grizedale Forest, overlooking Coniston and the fells. Autumn is in the air, with the first fresh winds blowing in clouds and scattering rowan berries on the woodland tracks. Geese have begun their noisy migrations southward, in V formations high above. Hearing their calls makes me look up.
Nature’s harvest this year is bountiful. Blackberries cover the bramble thickets (our black Labrador helps herself, picking carefully!). Yew berries are carpeting old grassland, picked up by nuthatches. Charms of fledgling goldfinches are learning to land on our squirrel-proof bird feeders, taking turns with green finches and tits of all kinds. Robins sing and wrens chatter in the hedgerows. Tawny and barn owlets shout ever-louder at dusk to be fed.
Creation is preparing for autumn and the cold dark days of winter. So must we. Francistide (St. Francis’ feast day is October 4th) reminds us of our common heritage as Gods beloved creatures: God, our sustainer and theirs. As the wild berries and the garden bird feeders strengthen tiny, fragile birds for adverse times, may we cooperate with God to care for all in need.
In the panorama, I recalled Psalm 19.1….
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork
We have had such a dry summer we are looking forward to some long-awaited ‘soft refreshing rain’. Thirlmere (reservoir) is 8m below its ‘spillway’ level, and Haweswater drowned village outlines are visible too.
I sang (in my head!) along my walk:
All good gifts around us are sent from heav’n above, then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, for all his love’.
Photo of the Lake District taken by Gill Henwood
The Revd Dr. Gill Henwood is a priest in the Church of England
‘When I am King I’ll wear a robe of autumn gold and deep blue sky and tell my fierce red subjects ‘Hold up your rich dying, do not die for I’m your King.’ But they’ll reply ‘Such robes are only won by dying.’
This poem was composed by a young man who was diagnosed with an illness for which there was no cure. It was a powerful comment on his own impending death – but not in any morbid or fatalistic way – and it ends on a note of hope…