Every year as I read through my chronological Bible, something new jumps out at me. Psalm 43:3 did that to me recently. I realized how deeply I need God’s light and faithful care–and that ultimately, God within me, is leading me to His Holy Place where I will live and be sustained forever.
Buckhorn Springs lies in th extreme northeast corner of Oregon. It overlooks the canyons of the lower Imnaha River in Wallowa County. I try to make a later spring trip as often as possible. The view is sublime–a reminded that nature endures even as we fade and falter.
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.
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.
Evocative remoteness summarizes the experience on The “Divide,” or the “Cat’s Back.” Located in a little visited corner of Wallowa County in NE Oregon, it provides some of the most beautiful country you will find anywhere in this nation. In 1885, sisters Daisy and Caroline Wasson came to live there on a homestead established by their parents. High, on an open ridge with spectacular views of the Wallowa and Seven Devils mountains, they spent ten years. Snowed in for six months of the years, they learned to sew from their mother, and do the multi varied tasks that made life bearable in the winter. In the summer, the place was magical. Daisy wrote about those who wondered how/why they could live in such “god forsaken” place: “I have a picture in my mind of Caroline, standing, listening. She has on a little white linen hat and she is holding her walking sticks, and leaning a little forward. I watch her, and then after a little bit ask what she is doing. ‘I hear music,’ she answers, ‘when I am real still and look at the mountains. I hear it.’
“I hear music when I am real still and look at the mountains.” Meg and I have enjoyed this music, the silence, as we have enjoyed the blessing and privilege to visit the Cat’s Back many times in the late spring. I hope you enjoy these pictures as well and “hear” the music for yourselves.
Although Hells Canyon is a formidable barrier between Oregon and Idaho, extremely hot and dry in the summer, beautiful wildflowers bloom in the spring along the Snake River, and on the high benches. Heavenly is a much better way to describe it. I have day hiked the McGraw section for the last five years. It is a wonderful way to be reminded of His Creation!
“Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life– gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God– it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, “…unless you…become as little children…” (Matthew 18:3). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, “…believe also in Me” (John 14:1), NOT, “Believe certain things about Me”. Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in– but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
I recently returned from the high benches above the Snake River in Hells Canyon. The wildflowers are always remarkable as they briefly burst forth. I never know how many there will be, nor how long they will bloom before they fade. However, I do know, they will be there; that I will be surprised, and that I am always with God.