The water in the pool was slow, calm, and crystal clear. I stood off to one side, a good distance away, watching. Would there be the dimple of a rising fish, its telltale rings expanding outward in little ripples on the glassy surface?
Yes. Yes, there was.
Now it is time sit patiently and think. There is no hurry. What is it eating? Perhaps even more importantly, how can one approach this pool and make a cast without scaring the fish? Wild and wary, they flee for cover at the slightest movement.
The fish rises again.
I guess at what seems the only possibility and tie on a small fly. Slowly, very slowly, I crawl into position. There will be only one chance; a poor cast, and the fly line itself will spook the fish.
Breath. Be calm. Focus. Let the universe be reduced to this one single point, and to this point only. Cast.
Grace comes in so very many moments, and in so very many ways. The fly lands just where I envisioned, begins to drift naturally in the slight current, and another dimply appears on the surface. In this instant everything has been absorbed into one, and it is absolutely perfect.
The fish comes to hand, and it is impossible to be unmoved by its beauty. You behold it just for a moment, and then feel it slip from your hand and swim away.
There are more hours in the day, more water to be explored, more fish to be caught. But you are done. You are done because you know in this moment is everything you need. There is nothing to be added. Your heart is full.
As the weather turns cold and grey, and rain mists down from the heavens with an occasional "mood flake" mixed in, it's hard not to find one's mind turning back to the joys of summer. I find my mind being drawn to one morning in particular when we had a decision to make: hike to the Lake Agnes Tea House or the tea house at The Plain of Six Glaciers?
It's the Lake Agnes Tea House that gets most the attention, but Linda read something somewhere about Six Glaciers that made us think that might be the better choice. But how to decide? Fortunately we ran into a delightful you woman who gave us the inside scoop. A groundskeeper hard at work changing out trash bags, she told us that Six Plains had chocolate cake. That was enough for us.
Here is the greeting committee.
And here is the kitchen, where everything is being baked from scratch.
Like these pies kept warm on a wood burning stove...
We couldn't resist.
Afterwards Linda made a friend.
They were sort of like chipmunks on steroids.
Then it was time for the next leg of our journey, up closer to the glaciers themselves.
After that we returned to the tea house once again for... you guessed it... chocolate cake!
That black spot in the middle of the above photo is a bear.
We met at this log. I was at one end, he was at the other. He started walking across. How we didn't see each before that, I'm not sure. But we didn't."GO AWAY BEAR!" I shouted with as much authority as I could muster. He looked up, startled. And then he backed up and bolted up the hill.
Beneath the log was a stream. In the stream was this.
But this just may be my favorite picture of the day.
"There's a buck in the field," Linda said. So I stepped out on the deck to take a look. I expected it to run at first sight of me, but instead it came several steps closer.
It continued to stand motionless for some time, its attention was clearly very focused on something in our yard. We figured it was interested in food, probably the last of the tomatoes still hanging on the vines. But food was not it.
A doe appeared beneath our dining room window, grazing her way through the garden.
Someone walked a dog on the far side of the field, and the buck high-tailed it into the woods. I figured he was gone, but it wasn't long before he was back.
The doe kept right on eating. This little tomato, and others like it, would not last long.
The buck tried another approach.
What happened next I can't say because it was time to go to work.
Weddings are always an occasion of great joy, but this weekend’s wedding added a healthy dose of laughter into the mix as well.
It started off like pretty much every other wedding. The groom and the groomsmen were standing at the front of the church expectantly. The bride and the bridesmaids had processed in, and the bride was as clear a vision of beauty as is available to us in this life. There was a moment of silence while everyone settled in to position, just before the opening words: “Dearly beloved, we have gathered here…”
And then the silence was broken from the back of the church by the loud voice of a child. “UH-OH!” the child exclaimed. There was another moment of brief silence, and then everyone burst out laughing. It is nice to know that even after almost 30 years as a priest, there are still delightful surprises.
While walking up a mountain trail this summer, one of the animals we encountered was a porcupine. Expecting the porcupine to be slow moving, and perhaps to stop and quill up, I followed it into the underbrushing hoping for a better picture. But it didn't stop or even slow down. Instead it put its little motor on, bolted down the mountain side, and left me far behind. It didn't matter, though. We were so pleased just to have had the initial encounter, and to come upon such an interesting animal in its own habitat.