Thursday, July 20, 2017

On a Winter's Day

by Ruth Ann Dell

It's winter! Crisp sunny winter days on the South African Highveld. Chilly winter evenings snuggled up in a warm bed with a purring cat, hot drink, and a good book. I love this time of the year.

 The brown grasslands have a beauty of their own, lit with aloe flower flames which will still glow even if veld fires char the grass around them to black.

An Aloe in Full Flame

The trees have lost their leaves and branch into dynamic sculptures against a vivid blue backdrop with ever-changing cloud formations.

Tree Sculpture
Winter reveals secrets which are hidden at other times of the year. In the nursery school playground, much to the delight of the children, the trees sport colorful decorations as balls, kites and other toys thrown up and caught in the branches in the summer months, become visible as they are no longer hidden by the leaves. Brooms and ladders are used to return them to the eager children who had given them up for lost.

Birds, like this magnificent young Verreaux Eagle in the nearby Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, and other wild animals, are also easy to see in winter when they are not hidden by the vegetation.

Young Verreux Eagle. Photo Credit-Amy Berry
And in my garden, the oak tree reveals her secret to me—a sparrow's nest, invisible in summer, but easy to spot now.

I'm at a scary winter-time in my life with a possible move from this land, which I love, to another country. A move which involves so many questions and unknowns. A move which will require big sacrifices. But as I look at the nest, home and dwelling place to a family of birds, a Bible verse springs to mind:
"Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations."  Psalm 90:1 (NIV)

I realize that whether I stay here or go, it is the Lord who is my dwelling place. The words of Psalm 139 assure me that the Lord is everywhere, and 
"If I rise of the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast."
(NIV Psalm 139:9&10)

What a wonderful winter revelation! 

Nest in My Oak Tree

I would love to hear how God has spoken to you through His creation this winter—or summer if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. Please leave a comment to tell me.


  1. Hi Dianne. Probably in the next year or two, but nothing concrete yet.

  2. Hi Ruth, Thanks for a super post. God spoke to me this year through the awful drought that's invaded our province. As I was lugging buckets of water from the washing machine to the front garden, I thought of how crazy it was to expect us to live on only 60 liters of water a day. Then I sensed God say, "There are thousands in this land who live on much less." That made me look at our water in a different way!

    1. Thank you, Shirley. Yes, the drought has really made us appreciate our water and not take it for granted. We have water restrictions in Gauteng, but nowhere near as stringent as in your part of the world.

  3. What a great post, Ruth. I loved your reference to Psalm 139 (one of my favorites) and was reminded of the awesome way Michael W Smith recited this Psalm. In fact, I went and listened to it again on YouTube.

    Winter, so different in various parts of the world, and it reminds me that we serve a God of diversity. In everything He has created, there is variety, from people, to animals, birds, vegetation, weather. The list goes on. He is truly a creative Father.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Marion. Oh I haven't heard Michael W Smith reciting Psalm 139, thanks for the link, I'm going to listen to it.