This one’s more a brief journal piece, but worth sharing. As promised a few weeks back, I’m working my way through Keith Meyer’s Spiritual Rhythms in Community. The Week 3 assignment was to watch, reflect, on, and preferably discuss the movie Into the Wild (and not that you shouldn’t—it’s a good movie). But instead, I chose today to take a 7-mile hike through the high-desert “wilderness” of Colorado’s steppes & foothills, about 10 minutes up the road from here. If you know me, you know I love hiking the mountains, and this was a good warm-up. Also, this particular hike was perfectly in line with the week’s meditation, Psalm 63. The hike was basically this:
- 1 mile of prairie;
- another mile climbing 500 feet to the top of one (Coyote) ridge;
- another mile descending and walking through the valley between ridges (not the valley of the shadow of death — in fact, there was no shadow at all for 99% of the hike — but the terrain did feel very psalmlike nonetheless, especially on the way back);
- a mile loop around the next ridge (RimRock);
- then back again, through the valley and up and down the first ridge.
Did feel like I was beginning to hear God more clearly on the way back, especially as I finished coming back through the valley and prepared to go back up the first ridge. (Note to self: Let’s see who I’m working for/with come September.)
Got back to the ridge and stopped under the only bit of shade available the whole way. Looked up, and on the other side of the trail, in the only other shaded spot, was a herd of mule deer — maybe four or five at first, then joined by another handful as I sat there. (I didn’t have a camera; this is about as close a representation as I could find. They were maybe 10-15 feet away from me the entire time.) We spent a good five minutes just looking at each other. I then gave them a mini-sermon, a la St. Francis (I’d just finished the Little Flowers a week ago, after all).
Finally, someone else came up the trail, from the starting end. I stood up, put a finger to my lips, then pointed over to the herd; he was about to miss them as well. We both just enjoyed that “sacred space” for another couple minutes, then both moved on, him thanking me as we headed in opposite directions—him further into the wilderness and me back home.
I think I made the right choice to skip the movie. 🙂