Wendy and I had an enjoyable couple of days at the lake last week. We drove down on Thursday morning and came back Saturday night. Quick trip, but it was nice to get away from what has been the normal routine for a short while. We watched the Iowa State vs. UAB game from Buffalo Wild Wings in Osage Beach over lunch on Thursday and were disappointed, like the rest of Cyclone nation, with the outcome.
We worked remotely the rest of the day on Thursday and into Thursday evening. Also worked most of Friday, but took the opportunity to get things ready for the coming summer and take care of stocking up. The lake level was as low as we’ve ever seen it. I tried to lower the boat into the water, but the lift dropped about six inches and sat on the bottom. So, no boat rides this past weekend.
Friday was a day of celestial events. It was the spring equinox, as well as there being an eclipse of the sun and a giant moon. I don’t know if any of these events had anything to do with the sky in Missouri, but Wendy and stepped out on Friday evening to see an eerie red glow. The sky was as deep scarlet as I’ve ever seen it in my life. I took the photo above from our back porch looking out at the western sky through the tree line. Gorgeous. It reminded me of the old saying, “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.” It was delightful.
We got home Saturday evening. Unfortunately I had been working on coming down with symptoms of a cold. Cough, congestion, and waves of weariness. We went to church yesterday, but rested most of the day in an effort to try and ward off things getting any worse. Now, for another work week.
Suzanna asked Wendy and me what our “favorite” thing was from the cruise. For me, it was sitting on our verandah taking in the view of the sky and ocean. I spent a lot of time last week simply sitting quietly and watching the ocean roll by. It’s not something I get to see living in Iowa, and I couldn’t get enough of it.
Sometimes I like photographs, not because they are a particularly perfect from a photography perspective, but because they are linked to something very personal and intimate. I took a lot of photographs of the view from our verandah last week. This photo captured, as well as any, a hint of the immensity of it. I loved that the sun was high and intense. There was a balance to the elements and the gradient of the hues of blue (my favorite color) in both air and water was gorgeous. This photo is linked to my experience and all the moments of peace, comfort and quiet looking out over the vast ocean, and that makes it special to me.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore. Psalm 125:2 (NIV)
I find it fascinating that both of our daughters have lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Taylor lived on the YWAM base there for a few months in preparation for a missionary stint in Morocco. Madison moved there to attend a one year program in worship and decided to stay when the year was over. And so, we find ourselves making the 11 hour trek to visit “the Springs” which sits nestled a the feet of the Rocky Mountains.
I once asked Madison what she liked about living in Colorado Springs. “I sit in class and look out the window at Pike’s Peak,” she replied. Enough said. If it’s mountain views you wish to see every day, then Iowa is definitely not going to do it for you.
I thought of Maddy Kate this morning as I read the above lyric from today’s psalm. Having spent a little bit of time in Colorado visiting, I do understand the sense of wonder instilled in a person when your visual landscape is surrounded by the majesty of the mountains. What a word picture for the spiritual reality of being surrounded by God’s majestic strength and security.
Today, I’m thinking about security that has nothing to do with alarms, firearms, dead bolts, or financial reserves. There is a spiritual security that stands as quiet a sentinel as the mountains. Sometimes, it’s good to be surrounded.
If you could own one painting from any collection in the world but were not allowed to sell it, which work of art would you select?
So many great works to choose from. There are so many works by Degas, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Vermeer I would love to have, but my heart always comes back to Grant Wood. Like midwest America itself, Wood is underappreciated. I have always thought that he was able to capture the beauty of the Iowa landscape better than anyone else and I feel an emotional connection to his work because it reminds me of my own connection to this land. Not to mention, his paintings would look great hanging in our home. This particular painting, Fall Plowing, captures one of my favorite times of year when the landscape is alive with everchanging colors and textures.
Wendy and I drove to Des Moines this past Friday. The rolling hills of the Iowa landscape stretched out as far as one could see. It’s beautiful this time of year with layers of color from the rich dark soil and the deep green of the crops covered with a glowing golden blanket of tassels. After gazing out the window for a long time Wendy commented that Grant Wood had captured the Iowa landscape so perfectly. I agreed. The comment brought to mind a memory of walking through the gallery at the Des Moines Art Center many years ago and seeing a pastel of the Iowa landscape. I did not know the artist, but I knew immediately that she must have grown up here. There was a depth of knowledge of the land beneath her pastels.
Growing up in Iowa you feel a certain connection with the land. The landscape is not an attraction, it’s a part of you. The people and the land are inexorably intertwined. In Iowa, you grow up with an appreciation for both the divine providence and the hard work that produces a family dinner on Sunday.
Many years ago I was on a journey through God’s Message and passed through this section of Deuteronomy. The verse above resonated deep within me. You could say I memorized it, but I feel more as if it attached itself to my spirit. This verse comes to mind after every good meal, and after an exceptional meal my family will hear me utter it out loud.
I never want to forget the blessing of living in a good land.