Signs, Near Misses, and Change

“Signs may be but the sympathies of nature with man.”
—Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre—

Every September here in Colorado before the cold really begins to set in, the crickets seem to chorus louder than ever. Especially in the evenings, their noisy, rhythmic chirping indicates the end of one season before the start of the next.

That slight chill in the air; that lowered tilt of the sun; that transformative color in the leaves all signal change-a-coming.

Even the animals leave their particular signatures for all who pass by:

photo credit WY-sarah-gledue

Nature seems to be saying, It’s time. There’s almost a shepherding quality to the predictability of the change. It comes. It goes. We as Earth-dwellers are nuanced of the transition.

I return to the introspection of the poet:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,/
But I have promises to keep,/
And miles to go before I sleep,/
And miles to go before I sleep.
—Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”

I remember years ago when I was driving up a busy hill to pick up my son who waited for me on a street beyond a parking lot. He stood at the edge of those crazy lanes of traffic on a sidewalk at the apex of that hill. I glanced briefly to him from the shared middle-turn-lane between cars zooming on both sides of four lanes of traffic. I waited there at the top to turn into the lot and saw the flashing lights of an ambulance making its approach toward me a mile away. In and out of cars that emergency vehicle flew as it made its screaming trajectory. But it vanished from my line-of-sight at the base of the hill below before it started to climb. I had absolutely nowhere to go. I felt a strange sense of calm and inevitability as I waited…and waited. When the ambulance finally popped up over the crest, it was centered head-on just yards in front of me in my turn lane. I saw the expression on the driver’s face and knew I would die from the impact as my son looked on from the side of the road. But then somehow, some way, at the last second, the ambulance swerved between the bumpers of two cars into the other lane and kept going.

The thin veil separating being from not being swept over me in the adrenalin rush after that moment. I took it as a sign that I had more to live in this life and more to contribute.

The lyrics of two gifted musicians come to mind:

Send me a sign, a hint, a whisper/
Throw me a line ’cause I am listening/
Come break the quiet, breathe Your awakening/
Bring me to life ’cause I am fading/
—David Crowder Band, SMS (Shine)


Where are You now/
When darkness seems to win?/
Where are You now/
When the world is crumbling?/

Oh, I, I-I-I hear You say/
I hear You say/

Look up child, ayy/
Look up child, ayy/
Look up child, ayy/
Look up child, ayy/
Look up
—Lauren Daigle (Look Up Child)

There may be a lot of arbitrary things in this life but not all. Perhaps a thread of purpose weaves in an out of the setbacks, disappointments, and raw heartache. I wonder if the gentle and not so gentle messaging is pure gift to bring hope and delivery to our final destinations.

All that is gold does not glitter,/
Not all those who wander are lost;/
The old that is strong does not wither,/
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,/
A light from the shadows shall spring;/
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,/
The crownless again shall be king.

—J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Riddle of Strider”

Thanks for stopping by.

Tolkien, J. R. R. 1892-1973. The Lord of the Rings. 2nd ed. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co, 1993.