“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” ~ George Washington Carver
Most readers of The Lettered Cottage are looking at photographs of DIY projects, renovations and house tours. I remember the first words of Layla’s that spoke to me: “I was walking home that day, by myself for some reason, and I just stopped. Right in the middle of the road. I stretched out my arms and took it all in. The blue sky above me, the grassy ground in front of me, the corn fields on either side of me, and the S P A C E all around me. I told myself (out loud) to, “Always remember this moment. When you’re older, remember this moment.” I stood there for a few minutes, just soaking it up. I’ll never forget it.”
In that instant I knew she ‘got it’ and considered her a friend.
On my return to The Land of Blog, I told you I walk and run daily on the dirt roads that act as a perimeter of the property surrounding the Fairfield House.
My rounds have been a source of solace. In the very least, I’ve logged in 2 miles a day, that’s 730 miles in 2011. The journey sometimes consists of biting winds pushing me and the remains of the previous season around desolate fields into oblivion. In the warmer seasons, biting ‘green heads’ (aka pine flies, horse flies) and saber toothed mosquitoes chase me the entire way. All days, I’ve discovered everything created with love inspires. It is on these pilgrimages that I give thanks, hear echoes of angels and listen for HIS whisper. I forget about me and am absorbed by the surroundings that confirm I am part of something so much larger than myself. If anyone ever doubts the existence of God, get out of your neighborhood and into the raw authentic beauty nature offers us. Profound simplicity is a spiritual experience of accepting each moment with love, grace and gratitude. I know peace. I am aware I am on sacred ground and am filled with so much goodness there is no room left for the pain of days gone by or worry about things that may or may not happen.
Scout, our Rat Terrier, is my constant companion. When Thomas is home he joins us. I have gotten in the habit of taking my camera or binoculars, unless it’s raining. It is easy to forget you are in the most densely populated state in the union. I am amazed at the amount of wildlife in our little nook of the universe — deer, raccoons, skunk, muskrats, turtles, snakes, fox, otter, ducks, snow geese, hawks, egrets, owls and other raptors.
It was on one such journey that I first spied the bald eagles. The magnificence stopped me in my tracks and took my breath away as tears filled my eyes. I am blessed. I will never forget it.
We have come to know each others habits by observation. We each belong and are not a threat to the other. Over the past year I’ve had the privilege of building a trust that affords me to get nearly as close to them as I do my hummingbirds. It’s been my best kept secret, shared only with a precious few.
Last year there were 34 Bald Eagles nesting on the Cohansey River on January 11, and the Cumberland County Christmas Bird Count, held January 2, estimated there are at least 88 Bald Eagle in Cumberland County. Their numbers are growing. If you are interested in seeing them for yourself and are in the area join New Jersey Audubon, Citizens United, Cumberland County Planning Commission, and Natural Lands Trust’s other New Jersey partners to celebrate the raptors of South Jersey at the Cumberland County Winter Eagle Festival.
Words are not adequate enough to describe the exhilaration you feel when you see eagles soar. Your spirit soars with them.
I cannot help but consider the cars that travel up and down my road, passing by without noticing this gift. Are you aware of all your blessings?