“Outside the open window, the morning air is all awash with angels.” ~ Richard Wilbur
One of the things I valued most about my time working at Easter Seals’ Timber Pointe Outdoor Center in Hudson, was that I pretty much became one with nature.
I actually got paid to watch the seasons drift from one to the other.
Our boss’s office was an old log cabin transformed into his work space and a conference room/break room. As you walked in, the rich scent of the hardwood floors and sometimes the crackling wood in the fireplace behind his desk catapulted you back in time. Every day. In every season.
A short walk up the sidewalk, which was surrounded by historic trees, was our main office, formerly a small home, and transformed into four office spaces. In other words, we all had “corner offices.” How lucky is that!
I had windows looking out two sides of my office. With my desk in the corner, I was able to look out either window at any time.
It was not uncommon to hear the sound of squirrels running up and down the outside of our office, or even more magical, a deer – or two, or three – heck, even a whole herd standing at the window looking in on what we were doing.
A former director of development, who hailed from St. Louis, and had worked amid the concrete gardens of the city’s business district used the word “surreal” to describe our working conditions.
I’m going to veer off subject just for a moment and mention “The Music of Silence: A Sacred Journey through the Hours of the Day” by Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine Monk. Although this book is small, it totally changed the way I experience the natural rhythms of the day and night.
In the book, Brother David breaks down eight “hours” of the day that monks around the world give heed to and how they manifest in the natural world.
Each hour has its own purpose, and when followed regularly can set the tone for daily living, not to mention an entire lifetime.
The third hour of the day is “Prime,” or what he calls a “deliberate beginning,” the few moments of the morning when we enter the day with intention.
I remember one time sitting at my desk looking out one of the windows. It was early; I had arrived at work just a few minutes before.
The morning dew still blanketed the ground.
Prime had quietly worked its way into the day before us.
As I gazed out the window in rapt wonder, I imagined, perhaps experienced in my heart, angels dancing all around in the aged trees behind our offices.
At the time, and still today really, I have a fascination with the invisible world that surrounds us. At Mass every Sunday, we praise the God who “created all things, visible and invisible.”
As an aspiring mystic, I believe the veil between what we can see and what we can’t see is paper thin.
I like to think that thought of angels dancing outside my window, was in fact an angelic inspiration itself, reminding me that things aren’t always what they seem, and that maybe, just maybe, there were choirs of angels dancing in utter joy outside my window that morning.
Every year, at the end of summer, the camp staff created a compact disc of songs that were meaningful to them and the campers throughout that season. They kindly gave us old people in the main office a copy of our own to listen to.
The first time I ever heard Alabama’s “Angels Among Us” was from one of those discs.
Looking back over the distance of time, I can’t help but think the Holy Spirit and all the heavenly host were conspiring, through the movements in my heart, and the soundtrack to back it up, to bring into my life that day, and those four summers, an honest-to-goodness God moment.
How about you?
SPIRIT MATTERS is a weekly column that examines spirituality in The Times' readership area. Contact Jerrilyn Zavada at firstname.lastname@example.org to share how you engage your spirit in your life and in your community.