#Message #AdventWord

What’s up with the markings on spiders? Over and over the sun glinting off a web clues me in. Look closely, a tiny creature might be home! And so I move about, taking care to not disturb the web, looking for the spider. And when I find it, I’ll shoot a dozen frames trying to make sure I have the best angle, the sharpest focus possible. Big spiders, like banana spiders, build huge orbs across wide trails. They’re pretty hard to miss. But tiny spiders? They are more discreet, their dinner-plate size webs more likely to be in thick stuff…

#Restore #AdventWord

Humans turned it into a toxic dump. Then humans turned it back into a spot of great beauty and biodiversity. The sign at the entrance to Restoration Park tells its story. For 50 years, it was the site of a sand and gravel mining operation. When it was “mined out” in the early 1970s, many people used it illegally as a dumping ground for all manner of refuse: trash, tires, dead appliances, nasty furniture. The City of West Monroe purchased the site in 1989 and the restoration began. It is now an urban wetland park and floodwater detention basin. Ouachita…

#Rest #AdventWord

It’s been 20+ years now, but I’ll never forget my telephone interview with several people on the campus of the University of Louisiana Monroe, at that time Northeast Louisiana University. Like a good job candidate, I had done some online research and viewed a number of photographs of the campus. So when they invited me to ask them questions, I had one ready. “Are there any fish in the river that runs through campus?” I asked. They laughed. And then, in unison, they said, “That’s not a river. That’s a bayou.” Black Bayou Lake was formed when the railroad tracks…

#Go #AdventWord

The Sierpe River flows from the mountains of central Costa Rica into the Pacific Ocean. But it is far from a “straight shot.” “Sierpe” comes from “serpiente,” Spanish for “snake.” The river is true to its name, it’s voluptuous coils most visible from the air. Life is like this. The distance between two points is rarely a straight line, getting from here to there often involves wandering in the wilderness for a time. But #go we must, wherever divine love leads us.

#Bless #AdventWord

The hiking trail through Alexander State Forest in south central Louisiana runs along the convoluted shore of Indian Creek Reservoir. Walking it on a summer afternoon, I occasionally glimpsed water through the trees, and on one of those occasions, purple flowers on tall stalks. Pickerel weed! I left the trail and made my way carefully over fallen wood and through thick brush to the water’s edge, planted my feet carefully and leaned out over the shallow inlet to get the best possible shot of the flowers. I shot several frames, adjusting focus and angle slightly and then, without moving my…

#Worship #AdventWord

It’s a weed. Really, it is. It grows in a road ditch a few minutes from my house. It’s also what author Barbara Brown Taylor would call “an altar in the world.” I mean, look at it! Look at the architecture, the shapes, colors and textures. It once wore a small corolla of yellow petals to seduce the pollinators. Now the curvaceous “belly,” with its flirtatious tutu of re-curved sepals, holds the next generation of the plant. Look closely. Do you see that another tiny creature has made its home here? Maybe more than one! I’m guessing the spider responsible…