I prop my feet on the rim of the boat, with a fishing pole resting between bare toes — even though Dad has told me since I was ten years old that no one’s ever going to catch a fish with her feet.
If Dad sees me trying to achieve the impossible with my toes, he doesn’t say so. Maybe it’s because he’s hypnotized by the lulling voice of creation–these hands of nature clapping their praise.
Night is marching in here. To the west, the sun sinks below pine, streaking a reflection like orange sherbet melting atop the water.
We’ve spent hours out here, and that’s what we ought to do with our time: spend hours. It’s not wasting time; it’s spending it, investing really.
It’s true: I get the most out of my summer vacation by “doing” the least. I get the most of my summer vacation by simply being — by simply “spending” hours.
“Spend the afternoon, you can’t take it with you.” That’s what Annie Dillard said.
* * *
This is the magic of vacation, the reason we all need to get away: we find ourselves by losing ourselves completely.
Yes, This is how the lost get found. I look up at the sky, now dressing itself in twinkling jewels. The moon rises — a perfect circle cutting a hole in the navy.
I breathe it in deep — this moment. I’m spending time.
Something tugs the line, so I reel, but the only thing dangling from my hook is a wad of weeds. And I’m okay with that. Because I’ve been hooked myself. I’ve been caught and captured by the Creator.
I flip open the bail and flick my tipped hook back onto a reflecting monastery that carries a quiet peace on the ripples. With a “plop,” the lure sinks under the surface. I catch a few crappie, but I wouldn’t have cared if I hooked even one.
For I’m perfectly smitten. And by the sound of things, the rest of the world is, too.
Jesus said as much: He said that if his followers fell silent, the stones would cry out.
And on a Lund boat, 200 feet from shore, I’m pretty sure the stones were a-singin’, along with the rest of us.
“Listen to that!” Dad says. “Those loons work pretty hard to get airborne.”
Over his left shoulder, a loon is beating its wings on the water, lifting its body and feathered praise higher. To me, it sounds like applause for Heaven.
I hear it in the ripples, too, as they clap, clap, clap against the boat — polite applause from tea-party ladies.
Earlier that day, on shore, we’d spotted three woodpeckers, drumming on a wizened, hollowed tree like hard-hatted men with jackhammers. At Mom’s ruby-filled feeder, a hummingbird beat his wings. (I read that they flap their little wings something like 53 times per second.) I couldn’t hear the sound, but oh, imagine the cacophony if you could magnify it!
When the breeze picked up that day, I heard a stadium of crisp praise, roaring through leaves and limbs.
The Good Book says the mountains and hills will burst into song, and that the trees of the field will clap their hands.
So, I’ll join with the earth and sing my praises, too. Can you hear us smiling here?
This is what our happy sounds like:
Three ways that we get the most out of our summer vacations:
WE LET OURSELVES GET LOST.
This is how we find ourselves again … by getting lost. We don’t wear watches, or carry schedules, or use cell-phones, if we can help it. In this way, we slow down enough to experience the beauty around us. We lose track of time, and we lose track of worry, and no one has ever fussed if someone wants to sleep in.
WE ARE OK WITH MISSED OPPORTUNITIES.
We often have a list of things we want to do on vacation, but we don’t worry if we miss some of them. Rather, we make sure we don’t rush through the moment we’re in. If we are so harried in taking in all the sights, we won’t really see any of them. Plus, it gives us a reason to come back again!
WE TRY NOT TO FORGET TO HEAR THE SOUNDS, WHEN WE SEE THE SIGHTS.
We love our vacations Up North, at a lake where my parents spend their summers. I sit outside, on the end of the dock, with my eyes close, and count the sounds … the whispers in the oaks and pines, the rustling birch, the loon’s cry, and the rippling cathedral of a quiet lake. And I join the chorus, feeling praise rise up in the heart.
Links for you as you plan your summer:
Check out The Happy Family Movement’s fun and inspiring ideas to make summer extra-fun for the whole family. Maybe you would like to join the site’s “2013 Summer Bucket List Challenge.”
Breathe in the beautiful prose over here, by Laura Boggess, who encourages us to slow down. ” … the only way to catch our breath is this sitting together—this quiet vigil we keep. I close my eyes and listen to the crickets; lean my head back and let the cool of night settle on my skin.”
And don’t miss Lisa-Jo’s annual “You’re More Than Your Swimsuit” post. “This body knows what it is. And it is much, much more than a swim suit.”
WHERE’S YOUR FAVORITE SUMMER VACATION SPOT? Do you have any tips to share, on how to get the most out of vacation?
So, what’s your Story? A #TellHisStory is any story that connects your story into the story of God.
For details on the #TellHisStory linkup, click here: http://jenniferdukeslee.com/tell-his-story/. Be sure to find someone (or two) in the link-up to encourage with a comment. Come back on Friday to visit our Featured #TellHisStory, in the sidebar.
Your words matter to God. They matter to people. And they matter to me!