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Monk in the World guest post: Geralyn Farley

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission for the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Geralyn Farley’s reflection on Beauty Surprises:

image003“Sunday was one of those memorable, picture perfect days, one where I would normally have camera in hand or watercolors and brushes close by. But on that day, I decided to challenge myself to take none of that with me. Freedom was mine to enjoy the moment, to savor the experience, to live fully through all of my senses. Overcome by the shear beauty of this event, I did decide to paint a picture and take a photo…with words alone. I share it with you.

“I asked the earth, I asked the sea and the deeps, among the living animals, the things that creep. I asked the winds that blow, I asked the heavens, the sun the moon, the stars and to all things that stand at the door of my flesh…My question was the gaze I turned to them. Their answer was their beauty.” ~St. Augustine

The final Sunday of Summer and Beauty has a way of surprising.  We are at the threshold of Summer’s farewell kiss and Autumn’s welcoming embrace.  We have no expectations this afternoon, but to be in the moment, in the quiet, peaceful, stillness of Nature’s living room.

September’s breeze caresses our faces while making choppy waves upon the lake.  Our sunrise yellow kayak bobs up and down and back and forth.  Our paddles in unison slice through the water, gliding us across the lake and into one of many secret coves. We are magically immersed in a Monet painting. We wait for something or nothing, and sit contentedly in the warmth of the sun’s glow.

“But they that wait upon the Lord…”

image002Our gaze begins to behold Beauty around us: water lily pads with acorns and iridescent dragonflies upon them, white and yellow lilies beckoning us to peer in, the sky dappled with flocks of sheep and trumpeting angels, a flotilla of red leaves passing by, calico trees gently dabbed with reds and yellows and golds.

We navigate the shoreline with its fallen tree limbs and pond grasses, weaving in and out under a leafy canopy. We then venture out into the middle of the lake. We own this space; it is ours. In gratitude, we embrace the sky.

Gliding on further down the lake, we happen upon 3 ducks, paddling in chevron formation, rolling up and down and occasionally tipping tails upward while diving for fish. Aware of our presence, they move along, our kayak following in their wake. Then, in unison and without warning, they take flight in perfect formation, honking in chorus with glistening wings and orange wellies tucked behind…more Beauty to behold.

Meandering along, we spot some silver maples with their distinctive gray bark, gnarled roots weathered from shore waters and bushes laden with berries, ripe for the picking by southern-bound birds. Our paddles pick up corkscrew grasses, confetti curls placed there for Nature’s wonderful party celebration of the seasons, our own ticker-tape parade. We are invigorated!

“…shall renew their strength…”

As if our senses haven’t feasted enough, we spy something so distinctive and so unusual: a large magnificent bird riding the wind so gracefully and so majestically. The lake is home to a variety of birds from large to small, from hawks and blue herons to Baltimore orioles and red wing blackbirds. This creature is unique with its dark body, white head, and matching fan-tailed feathers and broad wingspan. This is an American Bald Eagle. His acrobatic display is pure entertainment, planned just for us. Soaring above the trees, diving for fish, resurrecting again circling on high, around and around, creating figure 8’s. Then, as if aware of our delight, he arches across the sky and then makes his way towards us. He then swoops low overhead, like a pilot in an air show. Our faces alight with wonder and joy. He looks at us and we look at him.

“…they shall mount up with wings as eagles…” Isaiah 40:31

He carries our hearts high up into the clouds. He ascends to the heavens and to the far ends of the earth, then disappears from sight. Beauty surprises once again.

No camera or sketch pad, no watercolors or brushes just the blank spaces of our imagination we create a memory that changes our hearts and souls forever. ”

*Note: I do not purport to be a professional writer or poet, just an artist without camera or paints, who had to share an event or she would explode! ~GJF~

**Geralyn’s photographs were take at Piney Run Lake in Autumn of 2014, almost a year before her article was written.

image001Geralyn is from Maryland, where she and her husband live and where they raised their twin daughters. Geralyn has been an Elementary School Teacher, Reading Specialist, adjunct college professor, artist, musician, writer. She loves gardening, cooking, creating beauty in her home and life. Geralyn is Roman Catholic, was involved with the Charismatic Renewal and now has a contemplative walk with God.

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