Fall in the Mountains (Issue 1.12)

Originally Written for 11/9/08

Note: There was no devotional in issue 1.11

Last week I spent three days in Chapel Hill, then on Friday Melissa and Chloe picked me up and we drove to Staunton, Virginia for our annual fall get-away, and stayed with some friends who live up there for the night.  On Saturday we returned to Greenville late in the evening (about 11:00pm) after a quick 36 hours in the mountains.

There’s something about the mountains that I find incredibly relaxing, peaceful, worshipful, and invigorating.  We were up in the Shenandoah Valley, but we spent a good deal of time driving the Blue Ridge Parkway on Friday and then hiking the Appalachian Trail on Saturday.  It was only a few days past peak color time, so the trees were still glorious and majestic.  We saw a black bear and scores of deer, not to mention spending time at the apple orchard and at the Farmer’s Market in Bridgewater.  It was a very relaxing and enjoyable weekend.

It’s clique to say, but I think it’s true: I just cannot comprehend how anyone can look at nature and think “it just happened” by accident.  The denial of a creator of all that we saw last weekend – and all that we see every day – baffles me.  We witnessed trees that change color as they go into a hibernation mode for several months while the weather gets cold.  The bear is also getting ready to go to sleep for months at a time, and the birds are beginning to arrive from the north (we saw Canadian Geese in Virginia – and I’m pretty sure this particular gaggle doesn’t reside there year-round).

How can anyone stand on the trail, or drive the Parkway, or witness the changing seasons, and think “it all just happened”?  Read what Annie Dillard write in her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek:

“I am sitting under a sycamore by Tinker Creek.  I am really here, alive on the intricate earth under trees.  But under me, directly under the weight of my body on the grass, are other creatures, just as real, for whom also this moment, this tree, is ‘it.’  Just take the top inch of soil, the world squirming right under my palms.  In the top in of soil biologists found ‘an average of 1,356 living creatures present in each square foot, including 865 mites, 265 springtails, 22 millipedes, 19 adult beetles, and various numbers of 12 other forms…Had an estimate also been made of the microscopic population, it might have ranged up to two billion bacteria and many millions of fungi, protozoa and algae – in a mere teaspoonful of soil.’’ (emphasis hers)

Again, some would have us believe that this “just happens.”  But it didn’t.  There is a creator, an awesome, powerful, wonderful creator who is intricately involved in our lives.

Now that’s something to think about while out on the trail!


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