A horse walked past my house this morning. I have proof. Deep hoofprints in the squishy, thawing ground.
This morning I decided to give my dog — a golden retriever mix with some border collie in her — the exercise she always needs. So we headed for the thick woods across the street. We followed those hoofprints down the grassy knoll onto the wide path through the woods. I knew that there were a few homes about a mile from here that still had enough acreage to support a horse or two, but I had never seen them. The prints went in both directions and as my dog charged down the path and through the woods (off-leash in one of the few safe places to do this), I found myself thinking about these prints and dog-walks in general.
Neighbors tell me I’m a most dedicated dog-walker. What they don’t know is how much I get out of it. Exercise, of course. More importantly, a half-hour of solitude, enjoyment of nature, seeing the first hints of spring. Occasionally my dog will freeze with her nose in the air, or paw raised and pointed. I know from these halts to try to see what she sees or hear what she hears with her God-given super senses. My rewards have been to see foxes, rabbits, hawks, deer, kingfishers, Canadian geese (in the strangest places) and even skunks.
Back to the path of following those prints. They went up to the stream I had never crossed. It would have been possible for a horse to cross, yet cumbersome. Yes, it had crossed. On the other side, on the steep, muddy bank, I saw one long slide down the bank ending in a perfect horseshoe shape. A good strong horse could easily walk through the fast-moving current.
But not me. I don’t want to slip. I don’t want my clean dog to get muddy. Yet I haven’t explored the other side. The scripture from Isaish 43:2 came to mind, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you…”
I’ll try to remember that when I’m certain that the unknown will feel like one long slide down a muddy bank. And when I’m not certain it will end with one solid footprint at the bottom. But He will be there. And He sees and senses so much more than I can. So I’ll halt and spend some time in solitude with Him.
Then I’ll tackle my to-do list.
Blessings and kind regards to you all.