Life in the Woods

I was on vacation last month in low humidity and high altitude Colorado, savoring the pristine beauty of the Sangre de Christos south of Westcliffe!

Trees around me, towering mountain peaks in front of me, soft earth, flowers and lichen-covered rocks at my feet, I was sitting quietly in the woods for a couple of hours on a deep blue sky day. Wow! It felt good not just to get away, but to get into God’s creation and let it channel my Savior’s glory and peace deep into my heart!

As I rested there, juggling binoculars, Bible and journal, I thanked God for the gift of seeing and hearing, and I began noticing sounds and sights around me in a way that I don’t usually appreciate them.

I savored the whistle of the wind in the tree tops, the distant ripple of the Colony Creeks, and the chirping, chattering and calling of Stellar Jays, Clark’s Nutcrackers, and Mountain Chickadees. All of this graced by the curious and incessant buzzing of flies and bees around me.

The realization hit me that I wasn’t hearing any human sounds except for the occasional dull drone of a transcontinental jet leaving its vapor trail high above me. I noticed that long after the plane was gone, the white trail morphed into a long cloud that slowly slid over a faint crescent moon, still visible in the morning sky. I smiled.

I looked around and studied the trees whose scent I love—ponderosa pines, blue spruces and firs—and I noticed the hub and refuge they create for things that fly and even for a nearby squirrel that spent five minutes “yelling” at me from his perch.

I saw trees in all stages of life, some just “newborns” a couple of feet tall, others in their growth spurt, pushing ten and twenty—and many in their maturity—thirty, even forty feet tall. Some were beautifully formed with all their branches and needles in order and loaded with pine cones. They were obviously brimming with life.

As I continued to ponder, I spotted others—“senior citizens” of the forest—trees which had seen a few storms and taken some hits. One conifer nearby was missing the top third of its trunk and half of its branches were dead. Hmmm! At this stage of my life, I’m identifying more with these weathered warriors of the woods. But as I pondered what I was seeing and feeling, I sensed a beauty in those older trees which exhibit signs of wear and tear. Yes, they have dead branches galore, but they also have plenty of living ones and they’re still producing cones and seeds!

‘That’s the way I want to be,’ I tell Jesus! And I thanked Him for his faithfulness to me over these almost 69 years of my “life in the woods” and for this very special day of vacation.

There’s nothing like getting away for a body, soul, and perspective refresher!

“Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” (Is 46:3-4)

I love knowing, loving, and serving this God with all of you!

See you Sunday!

Pastor Steve