Kindling Neighborly Connections between People and Nature.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

A walk in the woods

Today I set a 4.5 mile course along the  eastern rim of the Pine Creek Gorge beginning at the Leonard Harrison overlook then traveling down the ravine on the trail, crossing 4 mile run then wandering northwest through unmarked forest until I reached the unmarked trail, proceeding to follow the rim of the canyon to the north until I reached Pinafore run, then I walked south along the Pine Creek Rail Trail and back up Turkey Path to the Leonard Harrison overlook where I had parked the car. It was a very good experience and the weather was about perfect for early spring, 50F and sunny.

There is nothing quite like experiencing the beauty and wonder of the wild outdoors. I sometimes think that it would be most fitting to sing those songs that are about the glory of God, which we typically sing in church buildings, out in the open air of the great outdoors joining our voices with the praises of ravens, juncos, and some mighty hemlock trees in the Pine Creek Gorge.

It just feels like the perfect setting to sing songs like How Great Thou Art. My favorite verse of this song is the second, which goes like this:

"When through the woods and forest glades I wander, and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees; when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze; Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee; how great thou art, how great thou art! Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee; how great thou art, how great thou art!"

But the problem is that when I am in this sanctuary of the great outdoors it feels irreverent that the beautiful melody of a thrush or a wren should be drowned out by my own voice. And so while I am surrounded by the praise of this whole diverse community of life, in my heart I am singing How Great Thou Art while I rest among the mountains in reverent silence and thankfulness.

Each time I get lost in the woods I discover a new part of myself which I did not previously know existed. I'm not talking about a forsaken kind of lost, but the wandering kind of lost. Oh to be serenaded by winter wrens singing in the ravines, to tune into the arrhythmic tapping of the sapsucker, and to become mesmerized by the vultures riding the canyon winds!

I know that the Spirit of God is in all that has life because the more I spend time among this diverse community of living creatures the more God speaks through each one into my own soul, causing my  heart to abound with love and respect for each one.

I only pray that the change God is working within me finds expression in my living, as I write this reflection with a very full and thankful heart. 

(my hiking route today)


(View from the top of the East Rim of the Pine Creek Gorge looking north. Barbour Rock vista can be seen on the far left side of the photo and Mt. Tom is the high spot far off in the distance.)

(This was steep! Making my way down the ridge to Pinafore Run.)

 (walking back along the Pine Creek Rail Trail... remnants of the winter)

(deer carcas along the trail. By the looks of it nothing was wasted.)

 (Me at the waterfalls along Turkey Path)

(I found this drawing on a bench along Turkey Path on ascent near the end of today's wandering. I don't know who Janaye is but I appreciate her artwork!)

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