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A sense of proportion is essential if we are to maintain our wits in this Ferris Wheel, Alice in Wonderland, upside-down world where “topsy-tervyness” is such a standard that it wants to take on the color of normal, and wants to claim itself as the touchstone by which every action is measured. Those of us who are still hanging on to good sense must keep these dire developments in perspective, else we become so agitated that we serve no positive purpose.

A good way to do so is to step outside and notice that God does not appear to be in any kind of trouble! And since we have cast our lot with Him, that is a good thing–a very good thing. The sky that clears after a brutal storm is still that rare, clear blue; ducks still design their cool formation and soar about in the far reaches over our heads; the scent of cedar in the wet woods is as pungent as ever. Steep hills are still steep and the downslopes as welcome as ever. Fishers still think there are fish in the deep frigid water and that if they have the right sized hook and their bait is smelly enough, they might take home supper.

Last week our temperatures dropped so that the red line across our thermometer that hangs outside the kitchen window dipped into the 20s, then came rain and Jerry turned off the sprinklers, and we put away the cushions that pad the outdoor swings and chairs and we gathered in magazines off the tables. On Saturday, Jerry and I walked by the lake, and as I often do, so that people are probably sick of hearing me say it, I said again, “This is the most magnificent place. Can’t believe I live here.”

“Turn here, Jerry,” I said on our way home, and he did, and after a few twists and turns into a steep canyon, we found these.

Perspective? Sense of proportion? Easy to maintain as we gape at aged carriages and awkward repairs, and frayed tires and old boards that serve to show off a row of apples. Wasted apples lay on the ground, their red color a flare among the brown grass and leaves of autumn gold and brown and yellow. Some had rotted, for no one came to the harvest, but there was a kind of beauty there, for the decay is honest and the eternal promise of spring and more little apples and apple trees and limbs and a nest for the robins.

Robert Browning got it right long ago:

The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearl’d;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in His heaven—
All’s right with the world!

“Is that rain again?” Jerry looked up from the newspaper.

It was evening now, the drapes were closed “Sounds like it,” I said and then pulled open the drapes and stepped to the front deck. “Snow! It’s snowing.” The snow sizzled. The wind blew. Normal. Right.