If you would enter into the wilderness, do not begin without a blessing.
Do not leave without hearing who you are: Beloved, named by the One who has traveled this path before you.
Do not go without letting it echo in your ears, and if you find it is hard to let it into your heart, do not despair. That is what this journey is for.
I cannot promise this blessing will free you from danger, from fear, from hunger or thirst, from the scorching of sun or the fall of the night.
But I can tell you that on this path there will be help.
I can tell you that on this way there will be rest.
I can tell you that you will know the strange graces that come to our aid only on a road such as this, that fly to meet us bearing comfort and strength, that come alongside us for no other cause than to lean themselves toward our ear and with their curious insistence whisper our name:
Troop 514 recently took its annual September backpacking, camping, rock climbing weekend. Eleven Scouts enjoyed their time camping at Hoffer Lake above Anthony Lake and then rock climbing higher up. We have been doing this event since the early eighties.
We set up our tents in the rain. When the clouds cleared in the evening, we enjoyed a spectacular sunset that reflected in Hoffer Lake.
The Mt Emily Recreation Area is less than a fifteen minute drive from where we live. When the Boise Cascade timber company decided to sell its land for home development on Mt Emily, a group of dedicated and far sighted people raised funds for Union County to purchase this land. The MERA provides trails for hiking, mountain biking, off road motor cycles and 4 wheelers and horses. These multiple users cooperate to make maintenance and trail development happen.
Meg and I have enjoyed hiking, biking, snow shoeing, and cross country skiing here. This spring has been particularly intense for us. We have hiked here several times a week, watching the first round of wild flowers appear, peak, and slowly fade until next year. Our minds and memories have enjoyed wrapping around this nuanced and delicate beauty.
“If I could stop time and contemplate the true beauty of a given moment, my eyes would widen and my jaw would drop. (Wait, I can do that! That’s why I photograph!) ” Dewitt Jones
I enjoyed a Friday overnight stay at our shared cabin at Wallowa Lake in NE Oregon. Kokanee, a landlocked salmon, are running in the Wallowa River above the lake. Their redish colors are mirrored in the beaufiful fall maple leaves in downtown Joseph. The air was fresh and clear early Saturday morning, a great befinning of the fall.
As the winds of the political environment pull us back and forth, Henri nouwen provides some wise words.
“How can we not lose our souls when everything and everybody pulls us in the most different directions? How can we “keep it together” when we are constantly torn apart?
“Jesus says: “Not a hair of your head will be lost. Your perseverance will win you your lives” (Luke 21:18-19). We can only survive our world when we trust that God knows us more intimately than we know ourselves. We can only keep it together when we believe that God holds us together. We can only win our lives when we remain faithful to the truth that every little part of us, yes, every hair, is completely safe in the divine embrace of our Lord. To say it differently: When we keep living a spiritual life, we have nothing to be afraid of.” Henri Nouwen
I am trying something different with my post this week. With the help of a group of local university students who have formed their own web based services, I developed a video setting my pictures to flow through the great old hymn, “How Great Thou Art.”
So, the link is set out below. You can also view it on my new Face Book site, “Praise Photography,” which Miranda, from this web group, is setting up for me. Enjoy.
Last fall, I enjoyed the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with Dr Peter Wordelman at Eastern Oregon University and the Chamber Choir he teaches. Peter is a master teacher who brings in talented students and stimulates them to do pieces they never thought possible.
This piece, “Alleluia,” was composed by Eric Whitacre who grew up in Australia, and now resides in both Great Britain and the US. The images take you through the seasons of eastern Oregon.I greatly enjoyed the synthesis of the vocal and the visual. Here is the link to the You Tube piece.
We all know the challenges of the multi layers of conflict our world presents to us each day. Within this world, how do we live God’s presence and offer his love? Paul presents some lyrical and logical advice in chapter 3 of his letter to the Colossians.
Greg is very slowly getting better. Please continue to pray for his strength and deepening knowledge of God’s Presence.
Our society trivializes joy and pleasure. Whatever we can create is always short term and transitory. I so love the depth and richness of the ancient writers’ words in the Psalms. “Joy of your presence”- “the pleasure of living with you forever.” Those words remind me that God is with me whether or not I recognize his presence and power. His awesome promises are eternal regardless of my response or belief.