Friday, March 30th. The 38th day of Lent.
I’m at Laity Lodge this weekend. I write for this retreat center in a secret way, which I greatly enjoy. I rode up with Paul Soupiset, who has become such a close friend over the last couple of years. Somewhere between Boerne and Kerville, a funny sound started coming from the right front wheel well of Paul’s car. We stopped so that Paul could take a look at it. While he was under the car doing manly repair stuff, I wandered over to the place where grass met pavement and became intrigued with a cute little scene I found there.
At my feet was a tiny rock, embedded in some soil that settled into a small clearing at the last rainfall. Miniscule weeds looked like bushes to me. And the only sign of human existence in the tableau was a bit of shiny metal, perhaps a link from a small chain, discarded by someone and looking as mysterious and out of place as the Monolith in 2001 A Space Odyssey.
As I gazed at the scene before me with a childlike sense of longing, I realized that this small environment exists in a time frame much different from my own. The bugs, insects, and microscopic creatures that live in this world have lives that are measured in weeks rather than years. The rock, mired in the soil after the last rain, has been in that place for centuries by their reckoning. And yet I might have disloged this great monument of their world with a careless step, something that would have been a cataclysmic event for the little world by the side of the road.
As Paul and I drove off, I noticed the wonderful blue sky and scenery of the Texas Hill Country. The beauty whizzing by my window did not seem all that different from what I saw in the mud by the pavement. And I am much closer to the world of the mud and the stone and the bit of discarded metal than I am to any sort of higher intelligence in our Cosmos.
What am I, that Thou art mindful of me?