Spring Rain At Maple Grove

By Linda Steele
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Once, on a beautiful sunny day in late April, I thought I would take a walk in the woods behind my house. I don’t know any place in the world closer to God than the woods. The quiet calls to my soul.

As I walked along, the smells were of moist earth and damp grass. I could hear the squirrels squabbling with each other and a crow cawing in the distance. I bent over and picked a few big sponge mushrooms and thought how good they’d be fried in fresh butter. After I had walked along for a while, I noticed that the woods seemed dark and smelled like rain. You know how the weather is in Ohio, one minute the sun’s shining and the next minute we’re having a cloud burst!

I didn’t go much farther till the wind began to swirl around me and small twigs and leaves blew in my face. It started to lightning and thunder and sure enough a few minutes after that, it started to rain.

The sugar camp was close, so I quickly headed for the old sugar hut. The leather straps that acted as hinges for the door were sagging so that it didn’t want to close tight, but still I was grateful for the refuge. It was pret’near dark outside, so the inside of the hut was even darker. I could just make out something between my feet. My heart quickened and I wondered if it might be a copperhead, but as my eyes adjusted to the dark, I could see that it was a large toad. I didn’t move and neither did he.

As I stood there watching the world light up with each bolt of lightning, I shivered while the thunder roared.

All of a sudden the hair stood up on my arms and head and there was a buzzing sound and a flash of light followed by a loud clap of thunder. The toad started moving for the door. Outside, the rain was pouring down and it occurred to me that if that toad felt it urgent to leave, maybe I ought a get out too.

I hurried outside and ran. When I was a few yards away, there was another flash of light and the hut seemed to glow then explode into flames. Had I stayed in there, surely, I would have perished. All but for the wisdom of a simple toad! It’s hard to believe that there could be people on this earth who refuse to believe in God or that He speaks not just to us humans but to the creatures too! I knew He had just spoken to me and to that toad.

God whispers to our souls. Listen to the inner voice that is planted deeply within you, the one that tells you what you need to do, even if it’s the opposite from what think you want. It’s called intuition or in some cases it’s called instinct. Every little thing on this earth has it. Look at the newborn lamb. How does it know, minutes after its birth, to toddle around to the mother’s udders to nurse? How do the geese find their way when they fly south and how do they get back home in the spring? I’ve read that salmon swim upstream in fresh water when it’s time to lay their eggs. How do they know where to go?

If God plants that knowledge into his creatures, do you not believe that he also speaks to you? It’s a natural understanding that is deeply planted in our minds. Watch the animals and learn from them and listen to your inner voice.

Steele Bio: In 2004 and 2015, won honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest’s annual fiction-writer’s competition in the Inspirational category. Has also sold a story to The Annals (The Redemptorist) Magazine in Quebec. Two novels, Random Acts and its sequel, Out Of The Valley, self-published historical fiction, are available in hard copy and Kindle through Amazon. A third novel, Turnabout, women’s fiction, is available on Amazon Kindle. Most recent novels are The Dream Tree and Lost On Bobtown Road. Have written eleven novels, one novella, and many short stories.


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