My Monday travel posts have seen me revisit cities all over the world – times and places that feel a world away right now. Perhaps it’s not a bad season in which to remember and celebrate the beauty, culture, and diversity of places far and wide. But for today, it’s where I spent the past week that has brought me back to blogging after a hiatus during these strange and constantly changing months.
While like so many I carry sadness for changed plans and lost opportunities, and grief due to the indeterminate separation from friends and family, like most South Australians, I am feeling exceedingly grateful, slightly guilty, and a smidge apprehensive to be enjoying easing restrictions unavailable to too many in our own country, let alone the world.
With international travel off the cards and even state borders currently closed, a holiday in my own “backyard” becomes the only option available.
I sought to take with me the perspective I have when visiting a brand new country or culture. To see with new eyes, to appreciate the simple pleasures, to notice the unassuming beauty, and to get lost in the little moments.
What did I love about spending time in the Clare Valley this week?
I am privileged to live in a land of incredible natural beauty.
I marvel at the variability I can too easily miss.
I listen carefully, inhale deeply, walk softly.
I reflect silently as each day passes from me.
I wonder about the stories of all those who have journeyed through these places.
I join them in worshiping the all-creating One in response to what I perceive.
And I acknowledge that I am interloper, walking on country not first my own.
What am I learning from taking time out in my own backyard?
There is much that I don’t understand about how this world works.
Even as I enjoy the solitude, there is plenty to ponder, to lament, to mourn.
The space and the quiet bring acute awareness of my own limitations, my loneliness, my mortality.
Awareness and reminder of the world’s current uncertainty, sorrow and lament is never far away.
And yet there are gifts of grace to be found even in the darkness.
The sun rising anew each day is a promise of new mercies and great faithfulness.
And there is always someone who has walked these paths before to point me to the presence of the One always in the midst of all things.