The goal of life is God

“The goal of life is God! The source of life is God! That out of which life comes is that into which life goes. . . . God is the guarantor of all [our] values, the ultimate meaning—the timeless frame of reference. That which sustains the flower of the field, the circling series of stars in the heavens, the structure of dependability in the world of nature everywhere, the stirring of the will of man to action, the dream of humanity, developed and free, for which myriad men, sometimes in solitariness in lonely places or in great throngs milling in crowded squares—all this and infinitely more in richness and variety and value is God. Men may be thrown from their courses—they may wander for a million years in desert and waste land, through sin and degradation, war and pestilence, hate and love—at last they must find their rest in Him. . .”   Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman

Wallowa Lake

BSA Troop 514 backpack into Minam Meadows

Six Scouts and another adult and myself from Troop 514 in La Grande made a mid July backpack into Minam Meadows/Red’s Horse ranch, an eight and a half mile hike from Moss Springs above Cove, Oregon. We stayed at a cabin constructed in the mid thirties by the father of a member of the Presbyterian Church. The boys, ages 11 to 17. collaborated and cooperated, living the Scout Oath and Law to the fullest I have ever experienced. It was a deep joy to listen to them laugh and share. They repaired a small bridge, hiked, fished, cooked, cleaned Mup, and played a variety of games. This trip created distinct memories of happiness for all of us.

Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, morning

After a sunset that filled my mind and heart, I woke up to this sunrise and early morning scenery near Hat Point in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area in the far corner of Wallowa County. Its massive grandeur never ceases to lift one’s spirits.


Hat Point, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area


Hat Point, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area

Hat Point, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area

The deepest canyon in the United States, with million dollar views, Hells Canyon is one of the most profound esthetic experiences one could ever hope to find, anyone. Meg and I have camped here in early July off and on for over twenty years. Were it not so remote, someone would have obtained a permit for a five star lodge. Instead, simple camping provides this serene wonder and solitude.

I am posting pictures from the sunset. Later, I will post sunrise pictures.

Hells Canyon NRA, Hells Canyon Hat Point
Hells Canyon NRA, Hells Canyon Hat Point
Hells Canyon NRA, Hells Canyon Hat Point
Hells Canyon NRA, Hells Canyon Hat Point
Hells Canyon NRA, Hells Canyon Hat Point
Hells Canyon NRA, Hells Canyon Hat Point

Eagle Cap, an early season encounter

When Bob Carter and I started hiking together in 2003, he was 62 and I was 60. We are older and slower now. However, we still have the legs and mental stamina to do this eight mile round trip hike over lots of downed timber and over a couple miles of snow to reach this gorgeous meadow in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. On Monday, June24, we started at the end of the Lostine River Road at Two Pan and hiked up the East Fork of the Lostine River. From tracks we saw, we were only the second people to arrive this season.

East Lostine Trail, Eagle Cap Wilderness
East Lostine River Trail, Eagle Cap Wilderness
East Lostine River, East Lostine Trail, Eagle Cap Wilderness

East Lostine River Trail, Eagle Cap Wilderness
East Lostine Trail, Eagle Cap Wilderness
East Lostine Trail, Eagle Cap Wilderness
East Lostine Trail, Eagle Cap Wilderness

God loves us because He is God

“God is love, so His loving is not something He may do nor not do at His will. Loving us is not an intermittent act or series of acts which God does in between other acts. His love flows steadily out upon the whole human race in an unbroken and continuous fulness. There is not a time, not a fraction of time, when God’s love is not active toward us.  It is as constant as the being of God, for it is the being of God in unforced, normal expression…

“We are often tempted to wonder how God could love us, but honest as this feeling is, it is nevertheless the result of a wrong way of looking at things. God does not love us because we are hard or easy to love; He loves us because He is God, not because we are good or bad or more attractive or less so. God’s love is not drawn out of Him by its object; it flows out from God in a steady stream because He is love.”  A.W.Tozier

Painted Hills

Taking Time

You have traveled too fast over false ground;

Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up

To all the small miracles you rushed through. 

Become inclined to watch the way of rain

When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,

Taking time to open the well of color

That fostered the brightness of day. 

Draw alongside the silence of stone

Until its calmness can claim you.

JOHN O’DONOHUE
Excerpt from the blessing, ‘For One Who is Exhausted,’ in his books:Benedictus (Europe) / To Bless the Space Between Us

The light of the Painted Hills

Friday late afternoon and early evening two weeks ago at the Painted Hills, near Mitchell OR in Wheeler County–the light changes softly but distinctly, subtle but intense, drawing me into an ever deepening mood of peace and relaxation, wonder and joy.

Painted Hills, Mitchell OR, Wheeler County OR
Painted Hills, Mitchell OR, Wheeler County OR
Painted Hills, Mitchell OR, Wheeler County OR
Painted Hills, Mitchell OR, Wheeler County OR
Painted Hills, Mitchell OR, Wheeler County OR
Painted Hills, Mitchell OR, Wheeler County OR
Painted Hills, Mitchell OR, Wheeler County OR
Painted Hills, Mitchell OR, Wheeler County OR

Silence

At the Painted Hills, early evening, absolute silence as the light began to glow. I made the time to simply sit, listen to the silence, and open my mind to nothing but God the Creator. Too often, I am busy composing the photo, working quickly as the light changes. I need to relax and let go of my external need to create, and simply let Christ create in me what He will.

Painted Hills, Mitchell OR, Psalm 62

Photos by Eric Valentine