This park, these gardens are my piece of tranquillity, my Heaven on Earth my Eden. It allows me rest within the arms of God, to stretch out to exhale. I can be at peace here, away form the chaos and hustle bustle that is modern life. It gives me time to think to slow down and do what an old man does. I like to sit on the same bench, one that overlooks that river, one with the overhang of trees whose leaves and branches bow and give me shelter and whose rustle on a breezy day, soothes my soul. Drinking in the scenery that lies before me… ah, how God moves through nature.
I watch the people who pass through, who pass by me. Few of them stop to appricate the fact that they are in God’s palm in this place. Here comes the girl walking with earphones in listening to a self help program, don’t you realise God is whispering to you offering you all the help you need but you can’t hear? The Man oblivious to all as he jogs on by, looking for physical perfection, perfection is on the inside sonny!
Here come the two ladies pushing prams, chatting away, gossiping about the neighbours, too engrossed in their slander to see what their children see, God’s breath upon their faces tickling them bringing laughter, “oh isn’t it windy out here? Better hap the kids up, don’t want them catching anything.” The ladies agree. I shake my head, thinking if only you realised, you’d know God does not invite the cold where he brings glad tidings!
Then the others, the people who discard their litter, their chip and sweet wrappings, their used gum and cigarette butts; they don’t realise that they are walking over God. It’s as if God itself was laying down on upon the ground and they walk all over them and throw their litter in God’s face. Every growing tree snapped in half is like a broken bone, every flower or plant casually destroyed is a laceration, bleeding God and every fire started or bush lit, is a burn upon God’s skin. This beautiful pristine environment is that God created for you is like a house that has been cleaned and polished and offered up, only for the occupants to vandalise it!
“Ah, but these are my children and I can never stop loving them no matter what they do in their infancy.” I hear God say in my mind.
“But the thoughtlessness, the destruction.” I silently retort.
“Did I ever stop loving you, old man, when you were but a babe and as reckless as these?”
God’s voice chuckles in my mind. Well I guess that’s true I ruminate and proceed to light my pipe, each puff causes me to ponder how God always one-up’s me! The pungent aroma of burning tobacco fills my nostrils and I forget all that lies about me, my eyes half close and I listen intently to the sound of God, manifest in the nature about me.
Some time later, It may have been a minute, it may have been ten, I re-emerge into the waking world; back into my old body of flesh whereas before I was hopping over stars, following God’s lead. My pipe now cold and done, I sprinkle the ashes into the waste bin beside me, and, with my one last vice done (it is my last vice) I lift my weary body and continue on.
My best ritual involves a giving back of sorts. It’s mostly unneeded, but it brings me a joy and I feel useful and I think it pleases God also. It’s a simple act of feeding the birds that alight upon the waters edge. Sometimes all I have is a few rounds of crusty bread instead of the bird feed I will luxuriate in buying from the nearby pet shop. But it isn’t always in stock even when I do without myself to allow for this treat.
I think God is minded either way, perhaps God is just happy in the act of sharing, the joy that springs forth from the simple act and the love that blossoms in the union betwixt the giver and the receivers. At least God have never told me otherwise.. Today I have some fresh bread to share, my stomach rumbles in despondency at the meal that feeds other mouths, but I mentally rebuke it as being already too big.
I cast pieces of bread upon the water and they fall like large snowflakes, the disturbance catches the attention of the various birds that have chosen to form a commune here. I like to think that my avian friends recognize me and gather in expectancy at the free meal to come, but probably not. It lightens my heart to see such a simple offering readily consumed and Its my hope that it means one less day of striving to find the next food for survival..
One duck draws close and spoons is Bill into that water snapping up in one swoop a few water sodden crumbs. It tilts it great to look at me and within it beady black eye, I know that it’s God who looks out upon me. With that done, I have one final place to visit before i satrt the journey home…
End of part .2
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