Northern Lights

It was late afternoon when I came upon this beach.
The golden sands and iridescent waters a surprise at this latitude.
Discarding shoes I felt the warm sand squeezing between my toes
as I walked along the high-water mark.
The demarcation between that which is regularly inundated
and that which remains forever dry.

Sitting on a small, sandy headland where grass
clings to an existence and the Marram grass fringes the edges,
I watched the sun make its daily rendezvous with the horizon.

The heat of midday was replaced by lengthening shadows
and a gentler, golden warmth.
As the sun lost its fight with the horizon, it slipped from sight.
The sky was transformed from bright blue,
through shades of amber and red to purple.

And with the approaching night the stillness comes.
The babble of day is replaced with muted tones
and alien sounds that carry much further.

Even the waves modify their pace.
The relentless crashing of the daytime
stills into a much gentler rendition.
Less crashing and more burbling as if
exhausted by the travails of the day

But still they mark time.
A regular heartbeat of the earth.

Now that the sun has slipped its earthly coils,
the cool of night comes to take its place.
From the driftwood I make a fire.
A small facsimile of the now distant sun.

As the wood crackled and the flames continued
their memorising yellow dance the stars came out.
They had always been there, I could just not see them.

Then, slowly at first, a new dancer joined this scene.
Iridescent fingers for green flashed into sight and then disappeared.
Slowly the fingers became bigger and stayed longer,
until they eventually joined together into one
long, undulating curtain of dancing light.
It moved as if provoked by unseen children
playing hide-and-seen behinds its ethereal folds.

The Scientists tell me this is just the result of
ionised particles hitting the high atmosphere.
But I think there is a higher orchestrater.

By now a kettle had appeared a-top my fire,
to harness the heat and make a golden brew
that in turn would chase away the chill of night
amid the regular heartbeat of waves.

“That’s a beautiful scene isn’t it?”
says the stranger who silently appears beside me.
“It does that even if we are not here to see it.” they add.

And so the stranger and I sit together and share a brew
as we watch nature’s ballet perform in the sky above us.
Few words are exchanged.
Few words need to be exchanged.
We are comfortable in each other’s presence.

“You know that I’m always here don’t you?”
they ask, eventually.
“I know – yes, but don’t always feel.”
I reply.
“Indeed, and that is why sometimes you need to see as well.”
“But not all the time.”

“The thing we have to remember.”
says my friend, after a pause,
“Is not to get fixated on the destination.”
“It is the journey we take to get there that is more important.”

And with that my friend disappears as quietly as they arrived.
With only an empty mug as testament to their presence at all.

Above me the dance in the sky continues,
regardless of whether I view it or not.
It dances for the one that designed and made it.


I have been trying to find a name/term to describe this sort of poem that I write and I’ve come up with the term “micro-story”.

The inspiration for this one came during one of our “Encounter” worship nights and got me thinking about the wonders of the world around us and how God creates such beauty and then gives us the ability to appreciate it.

We all go through tough times or lean periods in our walk with God. During these times I find it a great help to just take time out to enjoy what I see around me. It was during one of these times that God spoke to me about our individual faith journey being more important than the final destination. He uses all our previous experiences and we will probably never know how he has used those fleeting interactions we have with people we never see again. In the same way that we are all unique so our experiences with him and the journey we take with him are unique. Yes the journey may be difficult at times but he never leaves us to journey alone.

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