Friday, May 16, 2008

The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways--A Story

I'm an avid hunter. Especially in the spring of the year when the air is fresh, the breezes gentle, and new "game" is plentiful. More often than not, I hunt in my woods and fields, armed with my trusty Wildflowers and Plants of North America book, a camera, and a dog and cat companion. And, yes, I'm a wildflower hunter.

The Mark Twain National forest covers 1.5 million acres in my area. Noted for its scenic qualities, the Forest contains much for the outdoor lover. If you hanker for clear, cool spring-fed streams to dip your toes into, you will find them here. If changing landscapes are your thing, you will find peaks, hills and knobs of varying heights throughout the forest. Exposed rock and open glades also add interest to the scenic settings.

Each spring, enchanting wildflowers, ferns, and prairie grasses appear, to the special delight of wildflower enthusiasts. Some of the wildflowers are rare, and even endangered-like the yellow lady's slipper plant, a member of the wild orchid family.

Two years ago, my friend and fellow wildflower enthusiast, Hazel, called to tell me she had heard where there were some yellow lady's slippers growing in the Mark Twain National Forest. "It's in the J Highway area of the forest," she said. "Want to go see if we can find them?"

"Do I ever!" I said. "How about tomorrow morning?"

It was a beautiful, mild, late April morning as Hazel and I drove up to J Highway to set out for the hunt for the yellow lady's slipper. Most of the land in that area is owned by the Forest Service, except for a few smatterings of privately owned farms, which, it turned out, was a lucky thing for two careless hunters!

We parked the car on the side of the road, and walked into the leafy sanctuary of tall oaks and hickories. A myriad of plants and wildflowers carpeted the floor, and we became so engrossed in trying to identify each one that we lost all sense of time and direction. But what was even worse, we failed to notice the ominous changes taking place above our heads--until we heard a noise that compelled us to look up.

"Oh, my gosh, it's thundering in the distance. There is a storm coming," I said to Hazel. "We'd better had back to the car."

"You aint a-kidding," Hazel said. "And we'd better hurry, too. From the looks of those dark clouds, it will be a doozie!" We turned quickly and began sprinting through the woods in the direction of our vehicle. Unfortunately, our vehicle was nowhere to be found. We had gotten ourselves lost!

After sprinting some more, while the sky grew even darker and the thunder closer, panic began to set it in. So we stopped for a minute to catch our breath.

"I can't believe we got lost. I've been in these woods many times and thought I knew the way," Hazel said.

"Sh-h! Listen! I hear something," I interrupted.

"Cock-a-doodle-do!" the something went.

"It's a rooster crowing! And it doesn't sound far away. We must be near a farm," Hazel said. "Come on, let's follow the noise." A few minutes later we came out in a clearing and saw the rustic farmhouse, just ahead. We landed on the farms front porch just as the first crack of lightening came down, almost at our heels! A woman opened the door to see who the strangers on her porch were.

"Hi," Hazel said. "We were wildflower hunting in the National Forest and got lost, and when we finally found our way out, well here we are at your place."

"Oh, you poor things," the woman said. "You were lucky to find your way out just before the storm hit. Come in and have a cup of coffee with me. And later, I'll drive you back and help you find your car."

"Well, it was more than luck that brought us to safety," I mused over coffee. "We heard your rooster crowing and followed the noise. We're sure glad you have a rooster."

"The woman looked at us with a strange expression. "Well, if that don't beat all," she said.

"Beg you pardon?" Hazel and I looked at her curiously.

"You see, ladies, that's a young rooster. This morning was the first time he crowed," she said. Then she smiled and added, "Well, they do say that the Lord works in mysterious ways. This just proves it."

He does indeed!


First published in the book, Their Mysterious Ways, by Guideposts Books, copyright 2002.

I posted this story in remembrance of my old friend and hunting partner, Hazel, who passed away recently. She knew every wildflower that grew in our area, and taught me a great deal. I will always remember our many, happy hunting times together.

Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful week!


Old Lady Lincoln said...

Dear Renie,
What a beautiful story and memory you will always have of that day with Hazel. Thanks for sharing with us. You have yourself a beautiful day tomorrow and I hope you are feeling better and the antibiotic is working for you.
Your blogging friend,

Renie Burghardt said...

Dear Patty,

I am feeling much better, but was still mostly resting today. It's amazing how much good two days worth of antibiotics have already done. I am planning on picking up Eileen for church, in the morning, and then we're going to a special lunch, to celebrate her birthday! Wouldn't want to miss that.

Thank you for you concer, dear Patty. Have a wonderful Sunday.

Your friend,


Michele said...

Ah, Renie, this was such a great story! I hung on every word! Sadly, my heart dropped as I read Hazel passed away. I know you miss her terribly, but it's such a blessing to have exciting, miraculous adventures like one as memories. :-)

*smiles and hugs*

Mike Golch said...

my dear friend Renie,Thank you for such a great story.I'm saddened that you friend and fellow wild flower hunter passed away. Hugs and Blessing your way.

Rosy said...

Very nice fond memories to cheerished of your friend and such a lovely story to share with us.

Mary said...


I have a copy of "Their Mysterious Ways," and always enjoy that story.

My sincere sympathies on the passing of your friend and hunting partner, Hazel. I'm sure you miss her.

Love and blessings,

Nonna said...

Another great story!! Thanks for sharing it with all of us!! I hope your feeling better! Take care and have a great week!!

Merle said...

Dear Renie ~~ Condolences on the passing of your friend Hazel. I do hope that you are better and sorry
you have been sick. I hope you and Eileen had a lovely lunch for her birthday and I hope she had a happy day. Glad you liked my stretching lady, and my rabbit and pot full of tiny rose bushes. I agree with you that actions, as well as words, do influence children. Take great care
dear friend, Love, Merle.

Jmkdreak said...

Happy Birthday to Eileen!
You two have a fun day.
Nice story about you and Hazel
and love the pictures too.


Susie said...

I always find your stories so enjoyable Renie! I was imagining what a glorious place that must be to look for wildflowers.
God does indeed work in mysterious ways, as you have so delightfully shared with us here!
Lovely way to remember Hazel!

deborah wilson said...


A sweet memorial for your friend Hazel - I'm sure that she is looking down and smiling..

That was strange - the rooster crowing for the 1st time at the very moment you two became lost!

I'm glad to hear that you are feeling better!

Renie Burghardt said...


Thank you! You're so sweet. I appreciate your nice comment very much, my young friend.



Renie Burghardt said...

Hi Mike,

Yes, Hazel's passing was very sad, but I like to remember the good times we shared. She would have preferred it that way.



Renie Burghardt said...

Hi Rosy,

Very fond memories, indeed. Thanks for commenting.



Renie Burghardt said...


It's been a while since I took the book of my bookshelf, and yes, of course, you have stories in this book as well. We both have 3 stories, if you remember. Those were the good old days at Guideposts, weren't they?

Thanks so much for the nice comment. I did want to honor Hazel's memory with this story.



Renie Burghardt said...


Thank you for the sweet comment, my friend. Have a great week!



Renie Burghardt said...

Dear Merle,

Thank you for your kind words, my friend. I'm glad you enjoyed the story, and am always happy to hear from you. I feel much better, but am still on antibiotics. However, I did help Eileen celebrate her birthday, and it was a lot of fun.

Take care, dear friend, and have a wonderful week.



Renie Burghardt said...


Thanks, sweetie!


Renie Burghardt said...

Thank you, dear Susie! Hazel's passing was sad, but I prefer to honor her memory by sharing the happier times. She would have preferred it that way.



Renie Burghardt said...


Thanks! :-)

Yes, the rooster crowing was strange, but very fortunate for Hazel and I. And when the woman told us it was the first time he crowed that morning, well, we knew we had a small "miracle!"

And I am feeling better, but have to continue the antibiotics for 7 more days, to make sure the infection is gone.

Appreciate the visit. Have a great week!


I am feeling better

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

What a charming story. I am glad it reminds you of your wild flower chum.

We have lady slippers around here, quite a bit further North than you. They are not plentiful but they can be found in the damp ground of the forest. They do not transplant well and should be left in their natural setting. There is a pink one also.

I love to be able to identify the wild plants. Somehow to know their names and some information about them makes them more familiar. I am particularly interested in edible wild plants and how to prepare them for eating.

The forest is an abundant supermarket if you know enough. I am always surprised that people lost in the forest cannot get enough to eat.

ancient one said...

Hello Renie,
I loved your story. When my daughter first moved to the mountains of NC, the woman who lived before them in the house they rented had some yellow lady slippers in a flower bed. She was rescueing endangered plants. If I can find the photo I took of them I might post it sometime. I had never seen yellow lady slippers before. In our neck of the woods, we would sometimes see pink ones when I was a child, but I haven't seen one in years. Humm.... wildflower hunting? I know for sure I'd get lost.. wonder if my GPS thingy could help? Hmmmm.. got me thinking!!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

This is a wonderful story, Renie. Hazel sounds as if she was very special, as are you.

Mississippi Songbird said...

Such a sweet tribute to your friend, Hazel.. I know you miss her. God bless you.. Have a wonderful week..

Patty said...

I got goose bumps reading this story. What a wonderful story

BClark said...

Oh, Renie, what a wonderful experience and story. To have had such a good friend to share with, I know you miss her. Memories like that are great to have. Best to you, lovely lady, Barbara

Mountain Mama said...

Renie I just love reading your stories. You don't write with a pen, you write with your heart and because you do, your readers become a part of what you write. I enjoyed looking for wildflowers with you and Hazel, and even the thunderstorm and the sweet lady at the farmhouse.
As for the rooster, that is simply explained. Our Heavenly father commanded it to crow so you could find your way.
We have a wonderful and loving God.
Hugs Renee and keep the wonderful stories coming.

Tina Coruth said...


This is a beautiful story. It is a lovely tribute to Hazel, too. I'm sorry for your loss. Hazel sounds like a person who was quick to share a smile as well as a great hunting buddy!

Take care my friend.
Love & Hugs,

Renie Burghardt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renie Burghardt said...

Hi Tina,

Hazel was a lovely person and friend. I will always remember the wonderful times we shared for many years, and miss her terribly.

Thank you for your kind comment, my friend. I hope all is well with you.

Love and Hugs,


Renie Burghardt said...

Tossing Pebbles--

Thank you, Philip. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. Yes, the forest is a veritable supermarket, and a pharmacy, even. The reason the yellow lady's slipper became endangered is because it was discovered the roots had sedative properties. Nature's valium, so to speak!

I have seen the pink lady's slipper, and it's also beautiful, but not endangered like the yellow.
I'm glad the yellow lady's slipper is still around in some parts of Canada. Thank you for your interesting comment.


Renie Burghardt said...


Oh, I'd love to see the pictures you have of the yellow lady's slipper plant! I hope you post it.

Take care!


Mr. Nick,

Thank you kindly!

Hope you and Alex are doing well.


Renie Burghardt said...

Thank you, Stephanie! I miss Hazel a lot. But she had suffered so, at the end. She is with God now.



Hi Patty,

Good to see you again!


Renie Burghardt said...

Hi Barbara,

Thank you for the nice comment!



Dear Bev,

You are so sweet and kind! Thank you. And you are right, of course!

Love and Blessings,


Merle said...

Hi again Dear Renie ~~ Thank you for your comments. Jan has a lovely smile and she is a lovely person as well.
I am glad you are finally getting some nice weather, after so much rain. We have had some rain and been glad of it. I am glad you enjoyed the jokes etc my friend. I hope your week has been wonderful. Mine has been so so, but it's all good now. Have a lovely weekend. Take care, Love, Merle.

Nonna said...

I hope your week is going well and that you have a great Memorial Day weekend! I'm looking forward to it myself.

audrey` said...

Thank you for sharing the story with us, Renie =)
It's so beautiful.

Renie Burghardt said...

Thank you, dear Audrey!