A Morning Walk along the Arroyo

Yesterday I was down with the blues, but did not know why. So I went dancing last night, which usually restores my upbeat. First of all, they were teaching the Hustle, I dance I had never done. Let me explain, the dance is a kind of swing, and I liked it. Rotating dance partners was enjoyable too, until I realized I was the poor man in the circle, as far as knowing the dance…..everyone else danced like a pro! However, by the time I left the dance hall I was feeling just as down as when I had come.

However, this morning I put on my tennies and committed to a fast walk along the arroyo. As a professional runner once said “People on the running track are not depressed”. Of course that’s easily explained…..the depressed people stay home, sit on the couch, and stew in their situations. Anyway, I decided that I could at least pray for family and friends and maybe that would help my feelings.

Sharp-Shinned hawk (photo by Errol Taskin, Shreveport, Louisiana). Click on image to enlarge.

I decided to try to be a noticer this morning. The first thing I noticed was a handsome hawk sitting low on a branch of a mesquite tree not twenty feet away. The tree had many thin beans, some that must have been a foot long. I have been told that in emergencies, one can cook these beans but that they just do not taste any good.

The hawk was gray-brown all over, except for black bands on his tail, and I think he was a Sharp-Shinned hawk (they commonly prey on feeder birds, and an adjacent house had a bird-feeder). The hawk looked at me as I looked at him, and he seemed to say “Cheer up….there are many pleasures in this arroyo, if you care to observe”.

A little further along I saw some attractive white flowers, small and close to the ground. I leaned over to peer at them, and noticed a cross in the center of each flower, surrounded by five petals. Five petals on every flower. Why five? I will have to ask a biologist about these pentagon petals. The hawk and the white cross-flowers made me think about the Design-God, and these miniature footprints of creation. I started feeling better.

Purple pea-flower from Simpson Desert, Australia (Clive Palmer photo).

The next thing I noticed was a small bush with vivid purple flowers. Since purple is my favorite color, I examined the blossoms more closely, and discovered it was a pea-flower. That is, each tiny flower had a sweet-pea structure. As a kid I had grown green peas in the garden, and knew the pea flower structure.

The most celebrated flower in Australia is Sturts Desert Pea, a stunning deep red color surrounding a coal-black bulb. Just a few inches in size, the flower blooms briefly in the remote desert regions of the country. Memories of seeing the rare Sturts Desert Pea in Australia boosted my spirits even more.

I found myself thanking God for my feet and eyes and brain: that I could walk and see, observe and think. What a wonderful creation we are! The thankful attitude made me feel better. When I arrived home, the blues were gone and optimism had returned.


The Gray Nomad.
Probing the practice of Christian believers……

Sturts Desert Pea (Clive Palmer photo. Click to enlarge).

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans, chapter 1).

I will praise you, O Lord, with my whole heart; And I will recount all your marvelous works and wonderful deeds! I will rejoice in you and be in high spirits; And I will sing praise to your name, O Most High!” (Psalm 9, Amplified Bible).

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16 comments on “A Morning Walk along the Arroyo”

  1. Sam says:

    Thanks Ian.
    It amazes me (I know it should not) how God works through others to get a point across to someone.
    I’m taking a walk this afternoon for sure!

    1. IanPalmer says:

      I agree Sam in that I think God often provides helpful info to us through others, if we are open to receive it.

  2. Kathleen says:

    Thanks for your writing, it was just the encouragement I needed to read today. You are a blessing.

    1. IanPalmer says:

      Thank you for sharing this Kathleen.

  3. Kim says:

    Good story Ian! I could relate. I like to go out to Jemez, Pecos, or Manzanos to get away and commune with God. I always enjoy His artistry with the beauty and wonders around me. He helps me to get my focus where it should be, so my heart and spirit are at peace.

    1. IanPalmer says:

      Very well articulated Kim….thank you.

  4. Robyn says:

    I am glad you cheered up Uncle Ian. I know what it is like to be down. I miss my family all the time since I moved over to London. Sometimes more than others. I usually have a little cry and stop trying to be stoic. I find if I am honest with people and say I am feeling down it helps cheer me up. I must say if I exercise it works too. Like Uncle like Niece?

    1. IanPalmer says:

      Another trick Robyn is to find somebody else who needs help. Psychologists agree that this is a valid means to lift one’s own spirits……to help someone to hope.

  5. Jules says:

    Uplifting! He is around if we hush it and listen. I had to make casts for a little girl with autism last week who is an extreme wiggle-wart. I was worried how I would get the job done correctly. I prayed she would be still just long enough for the casting procedure. I went to her classroom to get her and she was sitting in their easy chair, CALM which she never ever does. Her teacher said she just walked over a few minutes earlier and sat down quietly. That was at the time I prayed. Then she was so quiet during the casting procedure she actually fell asleep and nearly slipped out of the chair. The SECOND I took off the last cast, she woke up and began to cry and wiggle, taking about 15 minutes to get her settled down again. I believe I witnessed “heavenly anesthesics” that day. Praise God for helping us when we need it, just like on your walk!

    1. IanPalmer says:

      A great true story Jules, and a cool example of asking God for help with smaller things. Thank you.

  6. Bob Moulton says:

    Hi Ian,
    Was feeling a bit blue last Saturday morning and decided to drive up to Quorn (South Australia for those who have never heard of it). The crops were looking great (which is not always the case up there. The wide streets of Quorn are an indicator that the vastness of the Outback beckons. The peace and serenity of our wonderful Flinders Ranges brings me into stirring communion with God, our Creator. I returned home later that morning, refreshed, and believing that your Hawk was a sign!

    1. IanPalmer says:

      Hi Bob. Those few words of yours made me homesick! I felt like I was right there with you! We had 5 inches of rain here last week, which was a record, and it broke a record 2-year drought. Re the flinders, we need to get you up to the Mawson plateau at the top end…..I feel like I may yet have one more trip in me.

  7. Barbara Leachman says:

    In the past I was negative about most everything in my life. One day I decided to make a list. In one column I wrote down what was negative in my life and on the other, the things I was thankful for. The Thankful side far outweighed the other. Now when a negative thought comes, I tell God one thing I’m thankful for (e.g. legs that move, eye that sees, breath, color, flowers, etc.). Now I add the grace we live in because of what Jesus did on the cross. Nothing can separate us from His love.

    1. IanPalmer says:

      This is a very good idea Barbara! I wish I had learned that 50 years ago. Thanks for sharing. I’m glad that we met at Starbucks!

  8. Vanessa says:

    “Dance the blues away” ~ South x Southwest plays this song well. I have a difficult time seeing you as the “poor man in the circle”.

    1. IanPalmer says:

      And I agree Vanessa that dancing generally does dilute the blues. However since that evening, I figured how to incorporate my Jitterbug patterns into the hustle, and now I am all set!


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