On the way to walk, I tried to give God a tiny gateway and I agreed to play one Josh Garrels song. Over my speakers came, “Flood Waters.” It is a favorite of mine and one of the few overtly God focused songs I can listen to. Here is the chorus:
“Flood waters rise, but it won’t wash away
Love never dies, it will hold on more fierce than graves.”
It was again sunny and just the right temperature to run or walk. I figured I better get this body back to walking first. There was not a cloud in the sky.
I went back to our local park , the one with the lake, the one next to everything in this tiny hamlet that is the kids’ home. Their elementary school, 100 years old, is across the street. The city hall and sweet little library share the property with the park. Most of the moments I have had in Alabama have happened there.
The lake was no longer blue or driven by the winds into hard peaks that reflected the sun. It was deep brown, full of the neighbors’ trucked in top soil. There was no wind. The depression sat full and heavy. But, the flood had abated. The spillway played its normal tune, in the tones of a child’s play piano… it did not appear the black hole soundlessly sucking, sucking that it did the day before. The water was back in its, “it’s been rainy,” boundaries and the ground was hardening again. Debris though, was everywhere anything other than water might catch or be carried. All manner of trash, limb and leaf was strewn and strangling the inflows and outflows alike. There was no mistaking that there had been a flood.
My goal was just to be still in my head, focus on the gentle wind in my face, the blue of the sky, the firming of the ground. I did not think about anything much…just walked…nearly two hours…until I could feel a hot spot coming. My feet are in worse shape than the rest of me. Last year at this time I was doing 7-10 miles every other day with 10 lbs, in tow. I guess I still am, laugh, only now they are attached.
I did notice one thing at the turn, where all the people park and I cried so yesterday. The trees there are ancient pines. Maybe it is my memory tricking me or something, but those trees always seem more fragrant. They move me more quickly to little than the young pines all about. I wonder about that…how instantly among them I am 3 or less and in my little folding fishing chair or maybe even in my portable play pen, the ones which were not nearly so portable. And I am aside my lake and the fishing, napping under the canopy of those huge guardians. I thought hard about the scent differential as I made my way round and round the lake. And it hit me, as came near them again…what might be so.
Those big trees are gored and scarred from lightning strikes, where limbs broke away in the wind and where infestations occurred. To the succor of all that, ran the resin. It runs not only within those trees, but seals it them up from the outside. It holds the great fellows together and bars would be enemies from reentry. It’s the resin’s scent that overwhelms me, transports me to innocence and goodness. The resin that does its work from the inside and from the outside.
My mind flashed to warm days playing in the pine-straw: cones loaded into the wheelbarrow, hours of raking the straw into piles and then blanketing the azaleas. I thought about how the pine-tar would coat the inside of one’s grip and how a black sheen of it always darkened the legs of my jeans. It appeared from nowhere. It found me everywhere I roamed. There was no escaping.
That stuff is nearly impossible to wash away.