Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Scripture of Nature

One learns that the world, though made is yet being made.
That this is still the morning of creation.
That mountains, long conceived, are now being born
brought to light by the glaciers
channels traced for rivers
basins hollowed for lakes.
When we try to pick out anything by itself
we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
The whole wilderness in unity and interrelation is alive and familiar.
The very stones seem talkative, sympathetic, brotherly.

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. This natural beauty-hunger is made manifest in our magnificent National parks — Nature’s sublime wonderlands - the admiration and joy of the world.

- From the writings of John Muir

If you watched the PBS special The National Parks - America's Best Idea, then you know that the title of my post is taken from the first in the series, and that the quotes I've used from John Muir are read during the introduction. The series has got me thinking about how different my life would be if there were no National Parks, State Parks, or other Camping grounds to go to. Admittedly I don't go nearly often enough, but such places have left indelible impressions on my memory.

The year before I entered high school, I went to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico; 200 plus square miles of wilderness somewhere between Cimarron and Angle Fire, near the southern end of the Rockies. It is a trip that I will never forget, it changed me physically, mentally, and spiritually. There were unforgettable places, like Bear Canyon, Urraca Mesa, Tooth Ridge, and Baldy. And somewhere along the hiking trails, God showed up, unannounced and uninvited. It was a time in my life when I wasn't talking to him or looking for him, but he showed up anyway. It was here that I truly understood the Apostle Paul's words for the first time, "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." (Ro 1:20) It is something that I would remember again as I visited other places like the Grand Canyon, the Rockies, or the painted desert. It was at Philmont that I would, for the first time write down my experiences in a Poem; reflecting on the soul-refreshing experience, and a lightning show God gave to us as we ate lunch one day. Though it would be several more years before I would respond to his voice, I first heard it in that wild place; away from the din of city noise and the hurried pace of modern life. And ever afterward, my heart would long for the mountains and wild places where his voice was more easily perceived.

So I wonder what my life would be like without these places. Would I have ever heard His voice?

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