Mountain Contemplation

Is there a thing about objectivity that ends up being a way to disengage one’s true self from the depths of things? That keeps one’s surface content firm, or hardened like burnt sugar atop creme brûlée, when the authentic good stuff lies beneath? Or solid like the ground we trod upon through the glorious Yellowstone caldera, when beneath our feet is hidden heated stuff that might some day erupt? It has in eons past, and fissures now of bubbling mud, and geysers testify hot stuff really is under pressure down below. We humans are not so different than creation around us . . . after all, we, too, are made from dust.

Our difference: we are given a spirit, and choice. We are higher than the land and the animals, though one wonders at times at behavior humans display. Still, we are layered and complicated, like the layers of nature that surround us.

Driving in the mountains I was overwhelmed with the beauty of a partly cloudy autumn day. Every view was stunning, and as the car raced along my mind took mental pictures I wished I could print out to gaze at again. The balance, or imbalance, of color, texture, and form . . . the analytics made no difference; beauty exuded from it all, just in its being. Blazing scarlet maples, brilliant yellow aspens, glowing yellow tamaracks flanked by evergreen pine, fir and spruce. Vast golden meadows, farmed land, and pastures dotted with cattle, or a horse or two. Barns of every age and stage, reflective of man’s life trajectory, the oldest fallen in a heap of precious weathered wood. The juxtaposition of worn wooden fence posts, posts and wire sagging as though the composer of that song fell asleep while drawing the musical staff. Split rail fences that have remained strong for years against mountain weather exclaimed zigzag splendor along the way. No need for precise symmetry and order here for function and peace to endure. The beauty was astounding suddenly, and all I could do was gaze, realizing how much I appreciate being in this place.

When I find myself too steeped in objectivity, or subjectivity for that matter, a drive and respite in the mountains seems to pull my perspective back toward the plumb line of God’s great plan. Gazing over vast vistas reminds me how great God is, and that no matter how overwhelming troubles and concerns might seem, how small they are in comparison. No matter the strife, no matter the woe, the beauty of God’s creation still shouts His praise, light shining brightly day by day, light chasing away the darkness throughout each night. God is above all.

Thank You, LORD, for Your incredible creation. As we view the world around us, let us take the time to truly relish this amazing gift You have bequeathed to us. To steward well all we have received. To linger a little longer in this place that shouts Your glory. And let us, please, take some of its layers home with us to the valley when we go.

Psalm 121 (NKJV). I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. 8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.

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