Driving with my eyes open

I am prepared for my first trip of the year. At 8:18 this morning, I am strapping into my car and heading out on a highway so familiar, I could probably narrate the drive with my eyes closed.

In fact, in a way, it is so familiar that I don’t see it any more. In my life of frequent travel, roads are simply an annoyingly slow connection between two points. They are to be tolerated with digital sermons and podcasts. There is none of the romance of this snipped from a C.S. Lewis poem:

And the call of the roads is upon me, a desire in my spirit has grown
To wander forth in the highways, ‘twixt earth and sky alone,
And seek for the lands no foot has trod and the seas no sail has known

But today, I am determined to find something of that spirit of adventure – perhaps not to find a new land, but at least a new sight on my all-too-familiar drive.

It takes nearly forty minutes. By the time I am able to get out to photograph the nearly ten-foot tall grasses along the side of the highway, the dramatic low sun behind them had slunk behind clouds. No matter. I am happy with the discovery.

Noticing is hard work. It’s a muscle in the brain that needs to be trained. God’s people should never be somnambulists.

You, Lord, delight in filling your creation with remarkable things. Make me expectant of your small wonders. There are a thousand around me right now if I could just sift them from what I consider familiar. Thank you for giving us such a world.

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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