A Remembrance by Sister Jane Geiger, MHSH
Our family home in New Jersey was situated in the Watchung Mountains and was accessed by a one-lane dirt road, which we referred to as “the lane.”
As you left the town, crossed Highway 29, and finally left paved road to make the turn into the tree-lined lane, you had the feeling of moving into God’s country. It was especially beautiful at this time of year, when the leaves change color and there is that sense of richness and plenty from being in a rural, farming area.
During the fall, one of the ways our family—and adventuresome guests who might drop in—spent time together was to go for a walk down “the lane.” The walk included a stop at the animal cages where, at any given time, one might see rabbits, raccoons, possums, turtles, pigeons and other local species. Their acquaintance being made, we would head to “the cliff.”
The cliff involved a short detour from the lane but led to a breath-taking spot. Breath-taking because you were standing at the brink of a sheer drop of several hundred feet providing a panoramic view of the surrounding geography. There was always that moment of silence as we took it all in, and then the fascination of trying to identify the different landmarks that lay before us. When we gradually moved on, it always seemed to me that the mood of the walk changed.
People would become more quiet and reflective, and somehow saw around them what they had not seen before. Little things would be noticed as someone would kick along an acorn, or stop to pick up and finger an unusual leaf formation, recognize a bird call, or point out an unusual rock formation, or catch sight of a deer in the field through the trees.
But something else happened, too. Thoughts and feelings were expressed more easily in the side-by-side trek, and people found a companionship and acceptance they had not experienced before.
During our childhood we never thought of our “cliff walks down the lane” as a religious experience. But, now in the reflection, I look back at many moments of touching the sacred. We were experiencing God. We were seeing God. God was walking with us!