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Blessings In The Morning

Story ID:585
Written by:Nancy J. Kopp (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Manhattan Kansas USA
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Blessings In The Morning
Nancy Julien Kopp

Summer mornings find me rolling out of bed before seven. I slip into shorts and t-shirt and head outside for my walk. I want to beat the hot Kansas sun before it stakes a claim on the day. I can't say I begin the walk with glee, but, once I am on my way, my mood changes.

I started walking years ago after I had surgery for a herniated disc in my lower back. Doctor's orders forced me into it. It did help my physical condition, but I found exercise a chore, not a pleasure. As time went by, I walked more infrequently, finding it a necessary evil, not the delight some people claimed.

Then, I found a couple friends who wanted to walk three mornings a week, so we strolled and chatted, but it was still work as far as I was concerned, and I gave it up. A second back surgery nine years ago forced me back into the daily walking routine. Many days it was difficult to fit into a schedule filled with activities, but I worked at it knowing it was to my benefit, even though there were times I felt quite sorry for myself. Believe me, I was the only one to show up at that Pity Party.

Shortly after this last surgery, my husband retired, and we moved back to Kansas, having been away for six years. We bought a house in the same area where we’d spent seventeen years raising our family. Nearby I discovered a perfect spot to walk. The Hudson Trail, completed while I was gone, is only a short distance from our house. For more than eight years, it has become an intregal part of my life, a place where I commune with God and revel in the world He created for us.

Come along with me on the trail as it snakes its way between the backyards of a myriad of homes. Share with me the beauty and joy of my early morning. I walk uphill about three blocks to reach the path, sometimes not fully awake. I step off the concrete sidewalk, cross a wide expanse of street, and move onto the softer walking path. Suddenly, I am in a different world, surrounded by nature at its best. My pace accelerates, and I find my spirits lifting with each progressive step. I’m fully awake now.

A variety of trees and bushes form backgrounds for peoples' yards and border the path. Many of the yards have lovely flowerbeds and gardens but along the edges of the path, sprinkled here and there, are wildflowers standing tall in the morning sunlight. Pink coneflowers, a few daisies, black-eyed susans and an unknown dainty purple flower greet me each morning as I pass by.

I catch glimpses of patios and decks as I stride by the yards. Outdoor furniture and toys of the inhabitants, their children and pets, lie scattered around enhancing the area surrounding the homes. Seldom do I encounter the people themselves—too early for most.
My companions, instead, are the many birds that inhabit the area. Meadowlarks, doves, cardinals and finches trill their early morning songs for my benefit. A symphony of sounds made by these downy creatures is punctuated now and then by the many insects that live here, too. Occasionally, the bully crows caw loudly as though they are trying to outdo the real songbirds.

My eyes take in the many things around me, my ears detect the pleasing sounds, and my mind begins to work. I think about the day ahead, a story I might want to write, or something happening within my family. But inevitably, at some point along the way, my heart lifts in thankfulness and praise to God, and I spend some time in a prayer of thanksgiving. I bring my problems to Him along the path, as well, but more often I find myself counting my blessings.

As I move farther down the path, the soft summer breeze fans me. I reach a favorite spot where there are no more homeowners' yards. Instead, I pass through a wooded section bordered by a log rail fence. Ferns line the walkway, wildflowers scattered throughout. The tall, stately trees seem to stand guard, and the birds are quieter here. Occasionally, a rabbit peeks out, wiggles his nose at me and hops away into the thicket. This is a spot where I always feel a sense of peace and calm—true serenity. It’s a place where our Father’s presence is evident and held close.
A little farther, I reach an open space that spreads across the Flint Hills, where a vast blue sky meets the tallgrass prairie. My heart swells at the sight each time it appears, and I add another blessing to my already lengthy list.

It is time to turn now, retrace my steps, and soak up some more of my early morning pleasure, for that is what my walks have become-—something pleasing and uplifting.

On rainy days, when I cannot walk, I feel a vibrant piece of my day is missing. Oh, I can count my blessings at the kitchen sink on those days, but, somehow, it is not quite the same as when I walk with God on the Hudson Trail.