A Question, Left by a Brook in Garst Mill Park: Day Twenty-Four

This post is part of the Secret Messages Project.  Every day for thirty days, I’ll leave my words in places where they might be found — or might never be found at all.  I hope you’ll join me. 


I find a new park today — a small one, hugging close to a silver ribbon of a stream, one that flows cold and deep over stones.

There’s an iron bridge here that leaps in a clean arc over the water.

There’s trees and rocks.  A bench or two.

And on this rainwet afternoon, sky-bright puddles freckle the earth with blue.

Can you believe it?  This place is just five minutes from home.  It’s been here all along…



I have with me a series of tiny chalkboards attached to small wooden stakes.  There’s a message already chalked onto them, one I’ve had in mind all day:

What if

spring comes

only to remind us

that all things

begin again.

It isn’t a new idea, this one.  I remember, from the days when I first read Walden, Thoreau’s remark that Spring might well make a Christian out of any man, and I suppose that’s true.  It’s an easy time to believe in redemption, when all things, everywhere, are bursting out new.

And yet I have to tell you:  I am learning, slowly, to believe in Spring now — now, here, in the coldest month.

Which is a crazy sort of faith if there ever was one — crazy, but not blind.


I thrust the chalkboards into the wet ground — one every twenty feet or so, following the meandering of the brook.

After that, my small work done, I make my way down to the stream’s edge.

I pick my way over the rocks, close to the falls, and snap shot after shot of water rushing black-to-white.  Leap back to the shoreline and bend low, my camera close to the surface-shimmer, trying to catch its reflection as it laps against stones.

I take pictures of everything and almost nothing:  eddies.  Pebbles.  Weeds spiking the bank.  And the whole time I keep thinking:  beautiful.  Beautiful.  Beautiful…


I don’t know when it happened, exactly, but sometime in the last few weeks I began to see beauty again.

For the longest time I thought winter was just nothing but a slow wet stretch of ice and ugliness, constant black-and-white drear.

Lately, though, my eyes have become attuned to the monochrome of this season, and – just as it was when I first began shooting in black-and-white – I’m finding myself seeing, as if for the first time, quieter forms of beauty that were here all along.

I see frost luminous on tufts of grass.

I see new growth shining flame-red on the tips of twigs.

I see sky-colors caught in puddles.

Did you catch what I said?  This beauty that I’m talking about … This beauty was here all along.





I stand up in the middle of the stream, realizing suddenly that my fingers are too frozen to take any more pictures.

Which is all right — really — I have enough.

I scroll through what I’ve taken, thinking:  Enough.  Enough.

And it is enough.  More beauty than I need to fill my heart for one more day, at least.

I walk back to my car.  Drive away, thinking again of my message:

What if

spring comes

only to remind us

that all things begin again?


And for the first time I realize that this thing beginning again — right here in the cold and the dark — is me. ❤






  1. YES!!

    Every single moment is a new moment actually – I’ve known that for a long time, and yet, today is the first time I feel the excitement of that truth right here in every fibre of my being!
    Love your photos! They take me back to a place I love best; there where the waters gurgle and tumble and sparkle with pure joy! xx


  2. I just love this! And I love what you are doing with your secret messages! Your pictures are beautiful! I’m loving how slowing down to notice beauty in ordinary places and taking photos has helped me so much. I still miss things, but not as much as I used to.


  3. You are beautiful!
    Green, green I know seems so “regular” so unimportant so unimpressive it does not have the romantic overtones or lust love of the red, pink or purple tones or the leaping warmth of yellows and oranges but in my heart I love -Love -green it screams of newness it says “I’m coming, I’m coming, watch with joy as I change everything as I make way for all the others as I drink in the water and warmth as I spring forth and give new life to all. I am the first to appear and the last to leave. I am life, joy, hope. I am peaceful and serene. I a quiet cool place even on a sweltering day. Yet I am a warm place to land when it is a little chilly. ” green reminds my of my God and His great love- I would like a photo from your beautiful mind and heart of the green in life!

    Liked by 1 person

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