If it’s not obvious this week, my final reflections on “delight” have me out in nature.
A couple of weeks ago, I took my morning coffee out into our back yard which faces into the woods. The sun was just beginning to peak above the horizon and sprinkle through the trees. Birds were singing an amazing chorus of songs. I sat down on the garden bench and pulled off my sandals so that my bare feet could touch the mossy ground. Already, it was a party of delight to all my senses: my eyes, my ears, the light and breeze on my skin, moss on my feet, the taste of fresh coffee on my tongue, the sweet smells of things blooming on the breeze.
Then, I looked up. There had been no new noise, but I could feel that I was not alone. And this little one stood there, just a few feet away, no doubt checking out that weird smell that I was to him on the breeze. Would he let me take a picture? I gently picked up my phone and took this picture. That’s when I noticed. Look at the picture again, in and among the shadows and leaves behind baby deer. She’s being very still. Her head is down. She knows my scent, and she has to decide whether I am safe for her baby or not.
Here these two, baby and mother deer, hold in the balance something that we are always invited to hold: caution and curiosity. Untethered curiosity can be dangerous and lead us into situations that truly threaten our lives and those of others around us. But, too much caution–all the time–squelches the delight and understanding out of our very existence.
I’m not new to this space in the woods, and mother deer decided pretty quickly that it would be okay for her little one to follow his curious nose for a while. It was a delightful show. And, they remind me how we, as a community of faith, hold these two things in sacred trust for each other–curiosity and caution. We need both.