Now that Springtime 1997 has come to Houston, I am trying a new exercise regimen. Rather than walking in the evening, I like to face the outdoors head-on at about 6:00 a.m. My neighborhood trek takes about an hour and covers three miles. The first mile is thoroughly residential. The next passes a couple of schools separated by soccer fields and baseball diamonds, then fades into open road surrounded by the Gulf Coast version of woods. The final mile completes an approximate circle through a different residential area and back home.
At 6:00 a.m., God’s world is on fresh display. I meet very few people, see a minimum of cars and hear little man-made noise. But the birds are out in full force. I seemingly inhabit a low-rent district in wingdom, where the sparrows constitute a majority. But they share space with a respectable mix of other songsters and their spontaneous choruses are beautiful if not harmonious. My territory, like Thomas Gray’s churchyard, includes a “moping owl,” and old Mr. Crow, the neighborhood bully, occasionally reminds us all of his presence.
The azaleas are in full bloom now — brilliant reds, charming pinks and innocent whites. So are the redbuds, flowering plums, and a spectrum of other trees covered with tiny green buds ready to burst into this year’s latest fashion in leaves.
Who could ask for a better setting in which to be quiet, to listen, to be still in God’s presence — and, finally, to tell him “Good morning,” to offer thanks and praise, to present oneself afresh to the Creator, and to make a few special requests? I am alive! More than that, we know the only true God, and Jesus Christ his Son — and that is life eternal.