Grace upon Grace #1

It is April 2008 and the pilgrimage continues as I walk from D.C. to Pittsburgh, learning John’s gospel by heart.  I’m back at camp after the second day:

“From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.” (John 1.16)

The sweet, yellow sunlight pours through the camper window, falls playfully into the sink where I wash supper dishes, brings to mind the golden fuzz on the seven goslings paddling between their elegantly proud parents this morning.  Dishes done, I rinse the sink of soap bubbles and crumbs, pack up the garbage and head to the dumpster at the end of the road.  But the sun is not finished with our  conversation.  It tags along behind me  and presses its slanting heat into the aching muscles of my shoulders. It feels good.  Remember more, it cajoles. 

So while my body relaxes, I recall the graces of the day’s walk—like the turtle this afternoon.  She was sunbathing on a log that had partially fallen into the canal. While her blood was warming, her shell had dried to a dusty, camouflage green—the same mottled color the canal reflected back into the noon light. Her wrinkled black legs sprouted claws that gripped her shelled body into position.  Her sharp nose pointed into the air, proudly daring wispy clouds above or the over-reaching trees along the bank to compete with the watery delights of her sun-drenched world.  She would not move, not even when the metallic flash of a fish skipped across the water toward her log.

Eventually it was I who disturbed her.  I had gently slipped off my day pack to sit and learn from her silent contemplation.  A hasty plop, circles of water light, and she was gone.  I wondered at the time, since she left her seat vacant, if this was an invitation to slip into her practiced, sunlit stillness for awhile.