Armed with a camera and assisted by a Cairn terrier, I went hunting a mile from my house. The woods were silent, and covered with a thin blanket of snow. Leaves had long since been shed and the view through the woods was no longer hidden by the leaves. I had walked in about a mile and decided to take an alternate trail that would take me up to the top of a ridge, when I detected movement. A big racked buck had bedded down about 4/5ths of the way up the ridge and he had turned to see what was approaching. He could see us, but had not scented us, was comfortable in his bed, and just kept his eye on us.
My camera shot was adequate and stood there for multiple minutes as he pondered what to do with us. In a true hunting scenario, it isn't a good choice to shoot at a bedded deer. It is seems too easy, and it turns out to be very difficult to actually hit a kill zone, so I eased up around and above him. I came out above him, and got a few more shots of him bedded, but now he had an uncomfortable head position and he stood up from his bed. We sat there looking at each other for more minutes and at this moment, with a broadside shot, I was fairly certain I could have harvested this magnificent animal. He eased down the hill and I didn't directly follow him, but indirectly. I lost sight of him, but kept on walking, and looked up another ridge only to see another large rack buck. He was with about 10 does, and I was able to get more and more shots with my camera. My Cairn terrier was in the moment, and remained silent beside me as we both took in the view of this special encounter. The herd eventually moved off, but not after presenting us with some great memories.
As I turned to head back home my steps were lighter, and somehow this encounter had lifted an unknown burden. Time immersed in God's creation once again, had entered me into His grace and the net effect was peace. I always look forward to 'assembling together' with God's people, and I equally appreciate being able to immerse myself into God's creation.
Lord, thank you for the both/and of being in your presence in nature and in community. Help us enter into both without excluding either from our spiritual lives.