Birdwood Nature Center is located north of Tallahassee, Florida, USA, just inside Georgia. It has 565 acres of wildflower meadow, old-field pine, hardwood forest, ponds, and swamps — all home to a myriad of birds and other wildlife. Open year-round, it is a living museum and outdoor classroom.
In the centre, overlooking Big Bay Swamp, is the Listening Place. It is a screened pavilion used in the late evening, as the sun goes down, to listen to frogs, otters, alligators, and wood ducks, that make their home in this rich aquatic ecosystem.
It is a place I enjoy visiting on a late spring or summer evening. There is a nice barbecue restaurant a few miles away. Friends and I enjoy an early dinner and a visit to Birdwood to walk among the towering pines to Big Bay Swamp and the Listening Place. I quickly realize I am on holy ground — in my Creator's cathedral. As the sounds of nature blend into a symphony, and the colours of the sunset blend into an artist's dream, I feel the presence of the One who created heaven and earth and all the living things therein.
Matthew 14:13a – When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.
Luke 21:37 – Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives. (NIV)
Jesus knew the importance of listening places. When He was tired and weary, He withdrew from the crowd. When He felt the need to commune with his Father, as He did on His last night on earth, He went to the Mount of Olives to pray.
If Jesus, the Son of God, felt the need of a listening place, we, being mortal, have the need to find a place where we can seek the Creator of our universe.
Prayer: Lord, lead us to that listening place where we can hear Your voice and understand Your words. Amen.