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November, Wildness, and Mystery

“The wildness of the Mystery of God cannot be contained.” This quote from John Philip Newell’s The Book of Creation strongly captured my imagination one beautiful autumn morning; so, carrying the words in my heart, I headed out to Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary to encounter wildness and Mystery.

As I walked the trail I immediately found myself in the Presence. A lively frog jumped out of my way into native grasses. A striped garter snake felt my footfall and slithered to cover. The wind blew brittle leaves from the sycamore trees, scattering them abroad. And then, the pelicans! Hundreds of white pelicans flew in these amazing flowing lines, just above the riverlands. The wildness of the Mystery of God cannot be contained… beautiful, how stirring. How I longed to be wild, too!

Then something caught my eye in a patch of milkweed: rubber bands were wrapped around the pods. I supposed the idea was to keep the seed from being wild, flying out on silken threads to plant themselves wherever they fell to be intentionally planted later on.

Much to my chagrin, I found myself identifying with those bound pods. I realized that I try to contain the wildness of the Mystery when taming my own wild nature; while struggling to name the Unnameable; when calling some places sacred and others not; some beings holy and others not…

And then there are the ways many religions and cultures try to contain the wildness of Mystery: doctrine and dogma, labels and laws, exclusivity and patriarchy.

The wildness of the Mystery of God cannot be contained!

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