Lent Week 5 – Presence

Featured Image: Seascape
Photography by Karen Epp (karjfe)
© 2017 – Karen Epp

The Presence

Look up – down,
all around;
it’s hidden
in plain sight
for our pleasure.

Weep over
how we’ve ravished,
then begin again.
at its resilience
its persistence,
how God pursues
us through this

It performs
on the horizon,
a stage festooned,
to attract our attention
and comes close
caressing bare feet
with soft spring grass
to bring delight.

One day
while walking
on the beach,
you may encounter
The Presence
in an enchanted grove
planted mysteriously
by a million million
seeds of sand
watered by
a retreating tide.

Enter there,
commune awhile;
you also are
God’s handiwork.

© 2017 – Laurel Archer

This week the word Karen and I have pondered is ‘Presence.’  It was Karen’s turn to go first and my turn to receive her creation and build a poem from it.  Sometimes creating happens quickly, we don’t have to struggle too much.  This week was like that for us – a grace given allowing us both a little expansion from the expression rather than an expansion through the expression — at least that’s how I would phrase it.

Karen on her Process: Today (Monday) while out walking in the Pacific Rim National Park on Long Beach, I noticed this seascape. It stopped me right away as I saw the trees there in the sand. When I returned back to our vacation rental and had a chance to spend some time with the photos, I was deeply moved at the thought of the tides and the sand working together in such harmony to bring us these amazing gifts. Presence. As I spent more time with the photograph I noticed many other parts to the seascape I had not been aware of at the moment of taking the photography. Rather than telling you what else I see, I’d love to have you share what you find here.

Laurel on her Process:  I began, after seeing Karen’s photo, Seascape, wondering about St John of the Cross’s Dark Night poem – how we are drawn toward God by God retreating from us, his hiding from us in plain sight and whetting our appetite for more. This is what nature does for me, it leads me further in; this is what Seascape did for me too.  ( If I may suggest: Click on the image of Seascape so that image will open larger and stand back from your computer screen to view the image )

I used short lines in this free verse poem which hopefully helps to convey that God often only gives small illuminations to lead us further on and further in toward knowing God more and also the acceptance that I am only able really to take in small illuminations, as much as my appetite seems to indicate I want to eat a horse – a spiritual one that is.  Small wonders are surprisingly satisfying when we can slow up enough to really see them.

We are on week five of a Lenten journey sharing art and poetry by reflecting on one word each week.  A more detailed explanation is given in Lent Week 1 – Rest. 

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