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Four days a week, I take one route to work, and another route home. The route to work has a slower speed limit, but it runs through the countryside and the scenery is like a cleansing breath for my soul. The route home runs through the city – I feel pressured to get to the school early so I can get a (legal) parking spot and (hopefully) avoid some of the “crazy drivers”! I like the routine of my routes. One route gets me physically where I need to go, and the other route gets me mentally where I need to go.

For this week’s writing challenge, we were encouraged to write down “snippets” of our observations when we had a free moment – on our lunch break, in the coffee shop, or in one of those rare moments when we get lost in our own thoughts. I am forever writing snippets on scraps of paper (and losing them) but I made an effort this week to make mental notes on my ride to and from work (I don’t usually take a lunch break), and to share some of the scenes I look forward to seeing each day in my travels. Then I tried to recreate three snippets here…

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1) On the way to work, I pass from “city life” to “country life” and I love it. I love the open fields – in the Spring, the new growth is a sign of hope; in the late Summer, the golden crops I’ve watched growing taller speak of blessing. As the nights cool in the Fall, those fields are covered with specters; they rise into morning mist as the sun warms the damp earth. The fields become a sanctuary to hundreds of Canadian Geese as they brave the uncertain flight into warmer territory. Those same flat fields are covered in a downy white blanket this time of year, the golden stalks of Fall’s rich harvest looking more like the stubble of a 3 day old beard. I am more likely to look past them now…to notice things like the snow-capped red barn or the smoke rising from the chimney of an old brick farmhouse. Today I noticed, for the first time, an old wooden structure the size of a large shed, tucked so neatly into the evergreen trees. It had a window and an open door, and a chimney that wasn’t crumbling yet. It was the darkness of the doorway, a yawning mouth of a tired, old soul that caught my eye. I couldn’t help wondering who had once inhabited this little home. Had they wakened each morning to gaze over these same fields? Did they have the pleasure of walking over them? Were they happy?

2) It seems strange to see them side by side – only fields apart – but from seemingly from different worlds. In one field, I can see a large green barn with a metal roof and a tall silo. But to its left, reflecting the sun, is the elaborate copper dome of what I surmise is a house of worship.

3) There’s a faceless concrete bridge over the highway, very commonplace and barely noticeable, that I drive over at the end of my day. But lately I’ve caught myself looking for something when I cross over it, just not something on this unremarkable bridge, but over it. Every day there is a small flock of birds sitting on a wire. Despite the bone-chilling temperatures, these intrepid inspectors seem content to eye the growing traffic below. Or maybe, like the rest of us, they are tired of being cooped up in the nest.  On overcast days, their shady silhouettes nearly blend into the skyline. Yesterday, it was snowing and blowing quite heavily at times, and still 3 or 4 bold birds were hunkered down on that same wire. They looked horribly uncomfortable with their tails straight out behind them, their wings tense at their sides, bracing against that battering wind. And I thought to myself, “they are tenacious”. Isn’t’ that how God wants me to be – in the midst of life’s storms, though buffeted by the wind (the voices, the expectations) to cling to Him tenaciously and ride it out. I imagine, when the snow clears and the wind dies down, the view of the city is amazing!

To see more Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Posts, click here.

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