It’s early morning. The sun is up, and so am I, but both barely. My first cup of coffee warms my fingers and then my insides as it eases down my throat. I’m sitting in one of my favorite places in this back porch. I’m gazing out across my yard and into the woods behind my house. God did a really good job back there and this day has the beginnings of one of His better ones. He let us help a little in the yard, but He put the woods and this beautiful day together all by Himself. It’s not heaven back here, but it’s not bad. My neighborhood has not awakened yet, or if they have they are being awfully quiet about it. As I listen, I hear no cars on the streets, no dogs barking, no music, and no one talking.

Fall has begun to fall. This is my favorite season of the year. There is a slight chill in the air, but my coffee is working well to keep me just warm enough. A gentle breeze is blowing and the leaves in the trees are applauding with appreciation. The trees are wearing mostly green, but I see sprinklings of red and yellow. I even see a few brown ones, but they will come more in fashion soon and quickly grow in popularity. I watch as a few early arrivers catch a wave of wind and make their downward descent to the ground below. Although I realize this will mean extra work for me in a few weeks, and I’ll have to grab my gloves and rake when that time comes, but right now, I’m enjoying watching their show as they surf the wind. A few birds are beginning to sing but cheerful tunes. Not a crow is in sight or has joined the choir this morning. Ginger (65) and Cocoa (15) have joined me, but they are silently resting at my feet. I think they are dreaming about being asleep.

As I gaze into the woods, I pretend I’m out in the country...out in the middle of nowhere. My adult years have been spent in apartments and houses in subdivisions. I’m surrounded by neighbors and people now, but fortunately, I live on the backside of the neighborhood, so directly behind my back yard are dozens of acres of woods. My mind goes way back, all the way back to my boyhood in Rainsville, Alabama. I’m thinking about the old home place there, where I spent my first 20 years. The old house was little more than a shack back then. No one has lived there for almost another 20 years now, and the old house has fallen in. I’m not thinking so much about the house as I am the woods behind the house. I haven’t been back in those woods for many years now, but as far as I know they still look about like they did back then. I spent many hours hiking, hiding, and hunting back there. Did you ask why was I hiding? Because Mama believed that old saying about sparing the rod and spoiling the child! It was a great place to get away!

Periodically, we need to get away. In Mark 6:31, Jesus said to the disciples, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” In this great big beautiful but busy world, sometimes we need a good porch, a patch of woods, or some quiet place, where we can come apart...before we come apart. This is a great place to pray, and be still and quiet, so I can hear the leaves, the birds, and especially God. BTW, I’m not hiding back here.

— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition. Visit for more information.

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