Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cabin of Grace

A Psalm of Thanksgiving

The Lord is my park ranger;
I have everything I need.
He gives me the key to a cabin in the woods
And leads me beside the still waters of the vernal pond
Where the trees all around rustle their praise of God's name;
Thus he restores my soul.
He leads me on the right path to get to the boathouse
and grows wildflowers in the nature reserve for his name's sake.

Even though the way is sometimes too narrow
and the hiking path is covered with mud,
I will fear no evil
For the park ranger has marked the trail with blue blazes on tree trunks
 so that I shall not be lost.
Though the ground beneath me is slippery, he will not cause me to fall;
he lifts my foot up out of the mud.

The park ranger tells me where I can buy matches, which I forgot to bring,
so that I can light the campfire.
You make it possible to prepare hamburgers on the grill,
in the presence of rabbits and birds;
You have caused me to remember the ketchup.
My cup of lemonade overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall sweep me along like the creek waters.
And I shall dwell in the cabin of God's grace for my whole life.

 - The Book of Jubilations 23:1-6

* * * * * * * * * *

I wrote this as a serious expression of gratitude to God for the three-day respite we had at this cabin in the woods earlier this month.  But when I recited the first line to my husband, he guffawed.    I stand by my portrayal of God as park ranger – to me it’s more relevant than the image of a shepherd.

Our three days was quite restorative.  We hiked in the forest, and got entirely muddy.  We observed animal tracks in the mud – definitely deer, and maybe raccoon tracks.   We saw a wild turkey, red-winged blackbirds, and heard a bullfrog in the reeds.

Another name for "vernal pond" is "mosquito breeding ground."
By a miracle, there were no mosquitoes during our entire stay.
Animal footprints in the mud.
Are these raccoon prints (after all, we were in Raccoon Creek
State Park), or, as my husband suggested, velociraptor tracks?
In any case, there was plenty of mud.

Younger Daughter got entirely muddy.  Even way more muddy
than in this photo.  She loved it.

We cooked dinner on the grill outside.  We roasted marshmallows.  We made 6-minute soft-boiled eggs and water for tea on the stove inside the cabin, and enjoyed blueberry buckle which I baked at home and brought with us.

Hooray for being able to buy a
lighter at the boathouse!

A week before our trip, we ran out of ketchup.  For the trip,
I packed one bottle of ketchup. Younger Daughter,
remembering the deprivation of the previous week,
 packed two more.
We canoed and did some fishing on the lake in the face of strong winds.   We observed my family’s time-honored tradition of going to the beach when no one else is there because the weather is cold and unpleasant. 

A fishie!

It was windy, chilly, and rainy.  That's my husband and
daughter in the water anyway.

We stayed in the cabin and read our books. We ignored the internet (no wifi at the cabin!).  YD played board games and card games with her Dad, while I wrote a psalm depicting God as a park ranger.  We played the “Jeopardy Game!!” which I made for my husband’s 50th birthday (which he happened to find under the bed while he was packing for the trip, and threw in at the last minute).  

Final Jeopardy category:  Sports.
Click to embiggen to read.
I lost because I forgot to answer in the form of a question.

It really was a cabin of grace: an undeserved gift.


Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

God as a park ranger... I like that.

Um... who is Bob Dylan? (But that totally doesn't make sense for sports, so I think I lost, too.)

Marianne Miserandino said...

I LOVE the idea of God as Park Ranger. I think it's quite fitting and indeed more relevant than ranger. This is great! What a fun time.

Suburban Correspondent said...

That sounds like a wonderful retreat!

Cassi said...

This sounds lovely. Such a great way to refresh a spirit :-)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Your gratitude overflows, the little things and the peace of it. What a gift.
And I am with the rest of your audience, God the park ranger. Perfect description.
Plus the abundance of ketchup.

Funny enough, I just took a long tromp through our trails yesterday and felt refreshed. There is something about the wonder of nature.

The Crislers said...

I love the photos! And, as a rabid ketchup-lover myself, I may just use "You have caused me to remember the ketchup." Providing, of course, He does cause me to remember. It's awful when the ketchup is forgotten.