What we find

Brenda Nail DeLauder


On a recent early morning when the temperatures were below freezing, Pepper and I set out for our walk, heading over to a favorite path along a dirt road. It seemed the whole neighborhood was still asleep and we were alone on our journey. Only an occasional car on the highway broke the quiet until we rounded the hilltop and heard two hawks screaming high above us in the pines. I couldn’t decide if they were having a conversation or a contest to see who could scream the loudest, but in the clear crisp air, the sound was impressive.

With each step crunching the frozen ground, we continued on our route until we reached the rapid flowing creek. With all the recent rains, the water level was high, gushing over the rocks, splattering drops of water on the bridge. Sunbeams were starting to reach through the trees, catching the droplets of water in the rays of light, making them glimmer like diamonds being tossed into the air.

For the first time in weeks I felt peaceful. The clock didn’t seem to tick as loudly and I slowed my steps giving happy boy Pepper extra time to scout about. I cherished the moment to notice the stark look of winter and breathe in the brisk refreshing air. Spring I love, when everything is greening up and blooming. I enjoy the lush shade of the trees in the summer, autumn’s glorious colors, and the bright joyous decorations of Christmas. Yet when all of that is gone, the empty trees and barren hills of dried grass will hold its own beauty, becoming a blank canvas where you can see the lay of the land more clearly. The once shaded flowing streams now get sunshine, allowing the smooth rocks beneath the surface to show off many rich colors and shapes.

If you walk beneath pine trees, you can hear their songs. First you notice the creaking and sighing, and depending on which direction the wind is blowing, the pitch of the sounds created by the branches as they sway, will change. Soon the whisper of music is heard and it’s absolutely soul-filling if only you listen.

I do enjoy those early morning walks while the sun is coming up, but my favorite time of day is just before sunset, particularly in the winter. After Pepper and I have our evening playtime, it’s the kitty’s turn for some extra attention. On cold dry days, Catcher and I will make our way over to the park bench next to the driveway. From that view, the trees to the northeast are lit up with the setting sun. Birds begin to arrive and the noise level increases rapidly as more and more come to fill the branches of the sunniest trees. A great mixture of song birds, each one finding their special spot to roost until the last rays have slipped away. Then, as if someone announces the show is over, they seem to call out “Good night!” before quickly disappearing into the thick branches of nearby cedar and cypress trees.

Every season brings special awareness of God’s beautiful earth to us if only we pay attention. “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven,” Ecclesiastes 3:1. The weather will change and so will the seasons, but for now, enjoy the purity and freshness of winter. Notice the birds while they gather together, or scream out their news from the treetops. As with any season, there are days we call “icky,” but all hold wonders of surprise in them. Since each day is a gift from God, why not find enjoyment in all of them?

Brenda Nail DeLauder is a native of Henry County. Her heart remains in her hometown.