I just returned from a four day retreat. I spent my time in a one room cabin situated  overlooking a large lake’s  small inlet.  The Hermitage, as it is called, sits on a 375 wooded acreage,  The Franciscans operate the Hermitage  to help those  who want to nurture a closer relationship with God.  Because of my own busy life and desire to  take stock of what God’s will continued to be for  me, I needed time for prayer and meditation.  I think what God whispered to me these last four days was  to “SLOW DOWN.”  I know we all have heard the expression to “Take time out to smell the roses.” That was exactly what I did. I cut out radio, TV, text messages, computer emails–anything electronic. Now it was just me and my God,. Well, not exactly. As it turned out I was part of a dynamic natural scenario. This place was au natural. Right before my very eyes, from sunrise to sunset there was always something happening.

Enter the Hummingbird, and enter it did. It exited as quick as it came. It happened that attached to the cabin wall was a  nectar bottle. Where I sat looking over the lake from my own vantage point, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a hummingbird zoomed in to the nectar bottlem, juiced up and flew away. The small flying jet of a bird was only an arms length from me. It didn’t seem to mind that I was there. I thought I am going to plot out and docment the times that it showed up at the bottle. Well, it showed up a lot during the day as I soon discovered.

I quietly refreshed myself sight, sound and silence. I know the Fransiscans said that this was to be like a desert experience and all that  we have is time alone with our God and creator. This obviously was not a deset but a bountiful garden of living organisms –all interconnected and living with and  for each other. It was just as much a “survival of the fittest”  as much as all species mutually aiding each other as the need arose in its members. And now enter my friends the turtles.

In the inlet, resting on sunken tree limbs in  the shallow water were the turtles.Lots of turtles. Each day they would come out of the water, climb onto the limbs of the trees, and sun themselves. This happened every day. Each day the behavior was repeated. One day as I sat watching the drama on the logs, like watching the flow of  molasses, the turtles, six in all, in unison with each other lazily enjoyed their place. There were two large turtles and four small ones. Suddenly,  I witnessed  the turtles, like on  command,  all plopped into the water with a huge splash. They resembled those synchronized swimmers who compete at the Summer Olympic Games. It was not until I  discovered  a few seconds later that a fisherman had approached the inlet and had just thrown out a lure into the water nearby. The turtles wasted no time in going to the safety of the water. It was not too long after that one of them gave an “all safe ” signal and they were all back to sunning them selves.

My reflections on this most sacred time, was how the environmentalist Walden must have experienced his Golden Pond. I was not only a spectator of the dynamism of Mother earth and its nurturing ecology, but I was a definite part of it. The turtles and the hummingbirds and all of God’s creation  continue to  do what they have always done for millennia.  Everything is interrelated and whole. The hummingbird and the turtles are an important part of this whole and each has an important part to contribute to the whole.

And so as with the Second Step of our program of recovery, “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity,” it was here (the Hermitage) that I found a measure of serenity plus the truth  that sanity does  flourish when we embed ourselves and encounter  the dynamic world of all living things.  I learned that to “Slow Down” and “smell the roses” pays out big dividends four our recovery and helps us to see  and find our place in creation. We each are an important piece of what we call creation. Creation is the THOU of the I-THOU relationship. Meanwhile, back at the Hermitage, I am sure the hummingbird is doing what it always does and the turtles are there sunning themselves in afternoon summer sun as they always do.


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