by Andrew Craig
The crickets are singing, and the tree next to me decides to join in. Its branches whisper with the wind, as they wave through the breeze and tap my shoulder, as if to say hello. The evening sky is approaching too. An orange-lit horizon softly melds into a bright yellow, then a soft blue floating about my head. Some trees are so happy; their faces turn red, even orange. The breeze welcomes us all to the evening and wishes us the best as we walk through sleeping leaves, whispering trees, and singing crickets.
As I was standing, waiting for the Newton shuttle bus to go to Main Campus, I could not help but notice something different about everything around me. Fall was finally here. Or should I say fall is finally here, depending on when one picks up this article and decides to read it. The leaves have changed; the air is cooler, the sun falls below the horizon sooner and sooner. Nature, in a way, is almost telling us to begin to slow down, to be calm, and to prepare for winter. Then again, classes, friends, schoolwork, and club meetings are all becoming busier and busier. Between midterms for class and meeting new friends, where is there time to slow down?
I like to think that nature has a powerful ability to calm one’s heart and help one to think; and in doing so acts as a vehicle for meeting God. One always hears that God can come to you in silence, in moments of quietness and solitude, as well as in moments of joy and community. As I stand and wait for the bus, I cannot help but see all of these trees: green, orange, yellow, and red; hear the wind run through the trees’ leaves; and the crickets never ending their songs to one another. With all of these images and noises filling my senses, I cannot help but be calm, feel safe, and desire to talk to the One whom I believe is responsible for all of this.
And so, with everything happening at once for everyone: Philosophy papers, Economics midterms, and club socials, what can one do to slow down and spend time in thought or prayer? To be honest, I can never speak for anyone except for myself. One thing that I can say is that, at this moment in my life, I find my answer to this question through nature. I never grew up with many stars in the sky, and so looking up some nights, and seeing constellations glistening in the dark blue sky, makes the world feel like a chapel one can enter at any time: a place where one can sit, and think, and listen. Listen not only to the birds, the wind, the trees, and the leaves falling to the Earth, but also to the Voice of One who cares for all of Creation. His voice exists within these sounds, and his face dwells in each living creature, these songs that ring throughout all of the seasons, and these living systems that surround us.
If Ignatius were around today, I would like to think that he would have no trouble at all finding God all around Boston. And if Jesus were visiting Boston College, I would like to think He would enjoy a nice walk through the trails around Newton Campus.