The Trail… the Journey…

Is there nothing more beautiful than to see God’s awesome creation?

So… my youngest son has decided to tackle the Appalachian Trail, and that has provided opportunities in abundance for him to see (and take pictures of) the beauty of the world around us.  I’m grateful to be sitting comfortably at home enjoying the pictures, admiring all who take the time to get out and experience nature, but finding for myself beauty in the sunrises and sunsets of these longer spring days.

The Appalachian Trail… there are SO many lfe lessons to be learned… even as I experience it only through the camera lens.

Clearly the first thing I’ve noticed is that the roughest stretches, the worst parts of the rocky trail, the steepest climbs… all lead to the majestic panorama of beautiful valleys.  Hmm… sort of like those difficult days and difficult experiences… if we’re determined and endure, we can find ‘beauty’ even in the distress.  Now… that one’s going to be a hard lesson for me to learn!

The second thought that came to mind was about seeing the beauty and even purpose in those rocky stretches.  For animals who inhabit the forests through which the trail meanders, those rocks provide footholds… for humans as well, while you want to be careful going through rocky stretches, we can also find perhaps something to hold on to… something to keep us from slipping backwards…

And one more thing about those rocks… have you ever looked closely and enjoyed the uniqueness of the rocks… the crevices, the moss, the small flowers peeking through the cracks between rocks?  Maybe let’s look at our ‘rocky’ life circumstances a bit more closely and see if there are things we can find calmness in, things we can enjoy.

The trees… the lesson I’m most likely to not forget about trees is that they stand tall only because their roots grow deep and strong… reminding me to not forget about caring for the ‘foundational’ things in my life – the things that make me who I am – so that others may see beauty (not physical, but deep inside spiritual beauty) in what grows strong as a result.

And I have a soft spot for small patches of color in the midst of the forests… I pause and wonder how a tiny little purple violet can ever find a way to sprout and shine its beauty when the sun seems to be hidden by the trees.  And I think… where and how in my life can I be just a small bright spot?  Maybe with an elderly neighbor, a frazzled store clerk, a young mom with children, a lonely resident in a nursing facility?  Let’s all be bright spots… let it begin with me…

Now… those animals… I’m the first to admire a deer, or a squirrel, or a rabbit scampering through the woods… but bears, wolves, and eek… spiders and other bugs… not so much!  Isn’t it amazing how God created each animal… thousands of different species… all with unique purposes?  I’m going to look at the world around me a little differently and enjoy the individuality around me.

Another lesson, mentioned previously, can I encourage you with a thought on those absolutely breathtaking panoramic views?  I know that we don’t always get to see the big picture, and I know that ‘snippets’ sometimes can also offer enjoyable and valuable experiences… but don’t ever miss taking the time to view all that is part of who you are… take the opportunity to see the ‘big picture’ of anything… self, family, friends, faith, work, good times and bad, sickness and health…

And finally… endurance!  Climbing the Appalachian Trail is not for the weak, the frail, the timid… it surely demands a sense of adventure, but I think it also demands a engaged spirit ready and eager to face the challenge, conquer the obstacles and strive toward the goal.  I have a good friend who finished his trail climb many years ago, and I still recall the picture he sent as he stood on the final peak… no one… no one could deny his exhilaration at his accomplishment… it didn’t minimize the challenges he had faced, but clearly he was reflecting through his smile and body language great joy and victory… may we all face our challenges, continue to navigate forward and stand with pride at our accomplishments!

Ahh… seeing the Appalachian Trail through the lens of my son’s camera… beautiful indeed… seeing the world, seeing my life, my surroundings through the lens of my own eye… or  you through yours… also beautiful indeed… enjoy!

2 thoughts on “The Trail… the Journey…

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