The gently babbling water flows over the rocks. In the shallow pools small fish dart under cover as my shadow crosses in front of them. Dragonflies and Damselflies zip around and occasionally hover. A small crayfish crawls from one pool to another. Somewhere behind me the distinct sounds of a woodpecker hammering away at an old snag echoes through the mountains.
I step carefully as I approached the spot where I will place my tripod. I am in a public park but the copperheads don’t understand that everyone is welcomed here and I’d rather not suffer another bite. Satisfied that I’m not disturbing a sleeping serpent, I begin to set up my camera. The twin falls of Glade Creek are one of our most popular places. They’re certainly not the highest falls in West Virginia but there’s something about the perfect symmetry that’s irresistible. The sun is high in sky and I want the water to come out nice and silky so I make the appropriate adjustments and set the timer hoping that the children playing nearby can stay out frame for just a few more seconds. This was ten years ago and it was one of my first with a real camera. The result is still one of my favorite images today.
“Be still, and know that I amGod: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
King James Version (KJV)
Sometimes it’s hard to simply be still. As humans, we are creatures of action. We want to make things happen on our schedule. We desire to crack open a situation and “fix” it to fit into our plans. However, it’s not our plans that need to be completed. God has a plan and He is able to complete it. We have all had the experience of the over eager helper who means well but messes up the plan by doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. Or even when it’s right thing but at the wrong time.
Imagine that you have a classic car and you’re preparing it for a show. Your child wants to help and you’re overjoyed. Now, imagine that you’re soaping up the driver’s side and you look up to find the child waxing the unwashed passenger side. There’s a big smile on his face because he’s giving you his best effort and he’s proud because he hasn’t missed a spot. How often do we mess up God’s plans by trying to help but not doing it at the right time? How often do we try to polish a soul that God is still cleaning? I know that the verse above is normally quoted by folks who mean to inspire a sense of peace but there are times when God is simply saying “Step back a minute, I got this”. In those times we need to step back and let God deal with it.
If you haven’t guessed by now my dear readers, I really crave quite places and time to think and reflect.
Our modern world is full of artificial concerns, pressures and deadlines . Sometimes we just want to collapse and think about nothing. The word amusement literally means to stop thinking. However, I believe it’s more fulfilling in these quiet times and places to push back those modern world concerns and contemplate deeper levels of thought. It’s not that our world suffers from too much thinking, we suffer from the lack of free thoughts.
It’s more than just learning the structured teachings of learned masters. It’s more than equations and mathematical prowess.
cogito, ergo sum ( I think, therefore I am) – René Descartes
The popular phrase was one that we learned at a very young age. I have forgotten if it was in history class or literature class. But it wasn’t until recently that I began to realize the full implications of what seems to be a simple concept.
If my thoughts are what makes me then what happens if my thoughts are not my own? What if I allowed my thoughts to be influenced by distraction from the media, or peer pressure, or any number of competing ideas? Like a virus, some ideas can come in from a outside source and replicate themselves in our hearts and minds. If our thoughts are no longer our own then we are no longer ourselves. We become a copy of whatever ideas are planted.
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” – Proverbs 23:7
This is why it’s so important to be able to take time and contemplate the ideas we are exposed to. Our minds have a natural filter that must be cleaned and refreshed on a regular basis. If bad ideas are allowed to linger for too long without active examination they can be absorbed by the subconscious and work their way into our hearts.
Take charge of your quiet time and don’t get so busy that you forget to check your filters.
The Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park in West Virginia is one of our most popular places. It’s especially popular with artists and photographers. I think the reason why we’re so atracted to it. The mill harkens us back to a simpler time when life was more organic. The days when water and horses powered our technology. This allowed for a life that was less micro managed. There was time for friends and family to meet beside a steam and enjoy life. Small stones accumulated in a pool near the bank hold an entire world of colors and shapes. Insects and crayfish dart around in the pool like waterborne fairies performing a dance. This is what real life is.
The mill is still in operation certain times of the year. We have friends who still take grain to the mill and grind it flour. Home baked bread from home raised grain has a smell and a flavor not found in the bleached out over processed chunks of starchy foam that comes in a plastic bag. Real bread is a wonderful experience.
Today the subject of automation is discussed at length. There are doubts and fears as well as hopes and dreams. I look at the image here that represents the automation of the past and I’m reminded that before the mill all that flour had to be ground by hand. There would have been no time for observation of life in the water. No time for pleasant conversations about life. I have hope that automation of the future will provide the same benefits if we are wise with it’s use.
If you’re interested in visiting the Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park in West Virginia you might want to check out the link below.
Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park