It finally happened. After living two years in the thick Manistee forest, a black bear confidently waltzed through our yard sniffing the bonfire pit and then slowly strolling down OUR nicely manicured path in OUR backyard as if HE owned the place. After Kyle took a couple of pictures for proof, he ran into the house yelling at us to look out the window. And there he (or she) was, close enough to run up and touch, which our kids would have done if it wasn’t for their cautions mother who had to quickly remind them of bear-safety protocol. But we couldn’t help ourselves, we all ran outside to find the left-behind tracks and see if we could still catch one more glimpse before the bear disappeared into the woods – the woods now looming with the expectation that he or she might jump out at any time and catch one of us by surprise while working in the yard, or bouncing on the trampoline, or sitting in the camper writing a blog post.
“Am I alive?” Hannah asked. I think what she was meaning to say is, “Am I dreaming,” because the whole experience seemed so surreal.
Suddenly I felt put in my place. Though we till the earth, build our forts, swing on the tire swing, mow the lawn, plant flowers, and waltz around like WE own this earth, I am reminded today that the earth is the LORD’s and everything in it. He is the One who places all the trees where they are. He determines when to awaken each blade of lush green grass, bringing forth color to a gray world. He choses where streams of water will pool after a cool, spring rain, and how each leaf should spread out its hands to bring shade and beauty. He also determines when wild life will come out of hiding and walk through the yard that you thought you owned.
I’ve seen bears in the wild maybe four or five times in my entire life, but each time, they leave a lasting impression of awe and wonder, reminding me that this is God’s world, not mine. I’m in HIS territory and need to walk with humble gratitude of all that He has lent to me in this life – including my own backyard.