This morning is quietly serene here in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Chirping birds and singing insects fill our spring fresh air with music. Even the little green frogs hiding in the grass near my writing cottage are adding their voices to the choir.
I sit here watching as a gentle breeze runs its fingers through the leafy branches of the oaks outside my window.
Beyond the trees, a pale sky stretches in cloudless blue to the rugged white peaks on the far horizon. This year’s snowfall has been amazing – about 760-inches at the highest elevations – and I can enjoy its beauty from here. All that snow will provide water for thirsty people and thirsty farmlands during the rest of the year.
Overhead, the Turkey Vultures, with their six-foot wingspans, soar, making large lazy-eight patterns in the morning sky. They catch the morning thermals and rise effortlessly, then dip and sail, until they catch another thermal. Watching the silent pattern repeated over and over is pleasantly hypnotic.
Not far from the front steps to our house, two small birds play in the air, flying in a tight, enthusiastic circle, facing each other, gliding up and down as if they’re designing a tall, invisible straw. I can almost hear them laughing like children playing "let’s pretend."
Down in the meadow, a pair of Canada Geese who have wintered with the neighbor’s cattle herd, make their morning inspection of the still-damp grass along the meandering creek.
They’re in no hurry as they waddle and talk to each other. It’s as if they’re reassuring one another that all is well.
Even though I have a writing deadline, and e-mails to answer and domestic chores to do, and although heroic Japanese are sacrificing themselves in a desperate attempt to control the nuclear-uncontrollable, and young people not yet 25 are fighting desperately (on both sides) in Afghanistan and Libya and many other places, and the Great Recession grinds away at savings and dreams, right now, right here there is nothing but peace.
Tranquil. Untroubled. Shalom.
A gift of grace that I have not earned, do not deserve, and cannot create.
But I can honor the gift by recognizing it, taking the time to accept and appreciate it, and sharing it.
So I pass it on: May peace be with you.