Thursday, June 19, 2008

On Vacation in Another Wilderness

Though on vacation from youth ministry (at least as much as one ever is), I felt this was something to post.

I am fairly well traveled.  I have seen and met people in and from many countries, felt myself to be stranger and family.  I have seen and experienced sights and places that cause you to feel far from home yet are hauntingly familiar.

Never have I experienced anything like the wilds of Alaska.  Though I was here before, it was in the dim twilight of November and my explorations were constricted to Fairbanks.  This trip has included a winding road trip of over 1,100 miles from Fairbanks to Kennicott to Anchorage to Talkeetna to Denali Park and back to Fairbanks.

The drive to Kennicott in particular and the hike to the glacier there was awesome in the true sense of the word.  Though my brother laughed when I tried to express it, my impression of the overwhelming peaks and breathtaking vistas was like trying to understand a higher language.  There is the practical language of nature - being able to understand the calls and sounds of animals, read the paths in the woods, or find sustenance in the brush.  Some of that lower language I can read and speak.  Years of Girl Scout camp helped with that.

This loftier and deeper language is one that hints at the voice of God.  The height and grandeur of the mountains.  The tumble and froth of the rapid creeks.  The sedate, patience rivers.  The blue coolness of the creeping glaciers.  The warmth of the sun on the wild, hearty flowers.

I felt if I was still enough, for long enough, perhaps I might just be able to make something of the quiet cacophony of this majestic language.