At dawn, I am alone under a canopy of Aspen and pine. It is to me a sacred place.
Mornings are glorious, who can argue this? Sedated and calm, with a spring of hope in it's gentle wakening. The light grows and makes me think, all redemption must have something of morning in it's bones.
I love too how the western mountains have their own particular landscape, their own way with the morning, their own beauty of scars and stories to tell. Delicate Aspens, their slender pale bodies and fluttering, barely-there tree tops that seem almost teasing or embarrassed, waving at you with their bashful beauty. They scatter themselves among all the weather-worn, wind-torn scraggly pines, like old seamen with their tales of gales they have stood against for years. Still, they stand stately and reaching tall and straight as though defying the woe the world throws at them.
I want to stand tall and stately and weather all the storms too. But I'd prefer not to have scraggly worn branches to show for it. Perhaps lines on the soul are a treasure in the way that an old lined face can be a treasure map of a life well-lived, if a hard one. I must admit, there is fear lurking underneath my still smooth, my untried skin, as I think of buildings and shrewd governments and possible hard days that lie ahead. I want to stay here and ponder the trees. It always feels hard this side of the ocean, flanked by beauty and rest, to return to that city of tangled streets of stone.
I'm drawn again to the story of Elijah, running away to the wilderness in fear of Jezebel. In short, depressed by the state of things as he worked with the local government. God meets his physical need first. He simply cooks for him. Then he lets him talk, "vent" as we might say. Then he speaks to him, but not as one might expect-- with power or visions or might (not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire). Instead, he speaks in a lows whisper, a voice small and still.
And the way forward doesn't sound easier. God simply sends him back. Did Elijah feel refreshed? Newly enabled? The Scriptures simply say he went and did as God commanded. That's a weathered tree for you.
So I sit here in the morning, basking and asking. And the days here are as much a mixture as any day can be. The kids play surprisingly well together all morning, making up games among the rocky outcroppings surrounding our site, and we deal with inconveniences and forgotten items, and we bicker and struggle to get a long. And then we laugh at antics and share stories, and play card games and laugh still more. We roll our eyes at all of our childishness and wish for more humility and progress and lay our heads down tired and full. And I remember Elijah again, who was restored by a good meal, and then a heart-to-heart, and then a Word from God. And I rest assured He can give us just what we need.