If you haven’t done so lately, it’s time to grab a picnic blanket before the warm days slip away and the evening sun skitters over the horizon in the hurry of new autumn notebooks and backpacks;
before it gets too dark too early for leisure and stillness, grab the hem of a handmade quilt and lift it up until the air carries it like a flying carpet down softly to the ground, under a tall oak tree where the grass is cool but not damp yet from falling dew, and kneel, then fold over in child’s pose if you do yoga or just bow for a minute prostrate and breathe in the scent of your laundry detergent or dryer sheet mingled with the earthy earthiness of the dirt,
then breathe out through your mouth and feel the carbon dioxide and oxygen press against your nose and cheeks and forehead which is also pressed against the cloth, which is pressed against the cool top shelf of the Earth, all top soil and mulch and decomposing plant matter that you will be one day, just plant matter some worm will worm its way through on its way to making a new body out of what is no longer filled with spirit,
but fear not because you are here, after all, paused on this nearly autumn day and the wind is moving like the Spirit, rustling the leaves like the Spirit, sending goosebumps up and down your arms like the Spirit,
and it is quiet, more quiet than you’ve been in days or weeks, maybe even months, maybe even years—how long has it been since you’ve paused like this on a blanket in the shade of a tall oak tree?—did you just hear a bird, or was that a cricket or a frog’s mating trill, what time is it?
It isn’t time yet to get up but stretch out now on your belly and use the word “belly” because it’s such a round and jolly word and reminds you of Santa and his bowl full of jelly, and your belly is happy flattened against the cool of the earth and the smooth cloth of your quilt; maybe now is the time to turn your head for just one second or two or three or four and stare into the wild jungle that is this lawn of monocot blades and superheroes—
have you seen them?
—these ants, they can carry up to 5,000 times their weight before losing their heads; there one goes right now with a crumb of leaf in its jaws, so be still. You may feel like you are carrying a heavy burden, but do not be afraid; you are worth many heads of ants and you are here, you are here, you are here,
welcome to the world, this world so full of many bright things, even slugs and potato bugs you can see scurrying or slurping—isn’t that what slugs are doing?—moving, anyway, through the cool of the earth and from this angle everything seems much smaller, more bearable, all in rhythm, even your heartbeat that you can feel in tandem motion with the movement of the earth’s own drumbeat.
Don’t you know that even this was ordained, this was incarnated back when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth, it is good, and you, you are very good, so now rest.
Be still and know that he is God and good and here, in the threads of this blanket, in the threads of the grass, in the threads of your DNA, and he is gentle and humble in heart, and his yoke is easy, and his burden is light, much lighter than 5,000 times your weight, so do not lose your head.
Rest, if you haven’t lately.
Here’s your invitation to Sabbath a second some Saturday or weekday afternoon while the world keeps turning so you can observe it and all that God has placed here as a reminder: yes, there it goes again, the ant so busy with such a heavy load and yet it is carried, by grace, it is carried.
Breathe again and let the world in to be loved because he first loved us and it, and who cares if the grass needs mowed, this moment is only a little while in all of eternity and eternity is held within it—the dirt, the worm, the wind, and you, so be still if you haven’t lately.