Eunice Lake Mt. Rainier

Before the mountains were brought forth,
or even thou hadst formed the earth and the world,
even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

~ Psalm 90:2

In an age of constant noise and distractions, making time to pause and reflect in silence can be very beneficial. Engaging in quiet stillness and reflection is music for the soul, and food for our brains. It has been proven that if the quiet, reflective part of our lives is neglected, we rob ourselves of a vital opportunity to grow and we risk harming our physical and mental health.

I will never forget the first time visiting a real mountain up close and personal. For a kid who grew up in the Midwest this was huge. After parking the car I walked up the concrete path to the start of the real trail, and so began one of my first journeys in the Pacific Northwest. Stopping at a spot along the trail looking up at Mt. Rainier; reaching down and grabbing a clump of snow the sensation of cold ad’s to my sensory experience as the snow begins to melt in my hand. “Thank you God” I say out loud

I look all around making a slow 360 degree turn taking in the incredible natural beauty. Breathing deep my lungs fill with the cleanest air I have ever inhaled. I stop and look down upon the melting snow in my hand; my mind returns to my childhood. I remember when I was just a boy one of my favorite things to do on a Saturday was playing in the dirt. I remember the first time I held dirt in my hand; I felt close to nature, somehow a part of it. The sensation was primal yet simple.

Pinnacle Lake Mt. Rainier

My thoughts return to the present. “So this is what I missed out on”, I asked myself

I’ve never seen so much beauty in my life. I’ve always known it was out there. Saw it in movies and TV but never up close and personal. I was raised in the Midwest but migrated to the Northwest in 1997 and was stunned to see such beauty. I’m finally experiencing what I’ve always wished for since I was a boy. I am so lucky to be here and so thankful to finally see a real mountain. To see forests with trees well over 200 feet high and waterfalls that cascade over moss covered boulders for hundreds of feet.

I walk to a stream nearby and kneel down cupping my hands into the ice cold water bringing it to my mouth. I enjoyed the clean taste of glacier water running down my throat. “Oh my God, I’ve never tasted water this clean before. Boy have I missed out.”

Reflection Lake Mt. Rainier

I stood briefly; eyes closed breathing slowly taking in the music all around me. I could hear the water running down the mountain, a pika nearby calling out to his mate, the warmth of the sun and the cool wind caressing my face, and in that silence I experienced a peace and stillness I’ve never had before. A surprisingly cool breeze swept down from the snow-drifted mountains, granting reprieve from the afternoon heat. The air here–I took a deep breath and my lungs tingled–tasted like God had breathed it fresh from heaven’s storehouse that very morning.

Not far from me were rocks of different sizes and shapes close to the stream. I noticed a chipmunk standing on two legs looking at me. I sit my pack down and reach in one of the pockets to get some cashews.

Stepping closer to the little creature careful not to spook it; I reach out with my hand full of nuts and the little guy grabs several from my hand. Soon his cheeks are puffy on both sides. Noticing the cuteness I grab my camera and snap a shot.  Smiling I think to myself—“now this is living.” Its so beautiful here I have to capture this and hang it on my walls at home.

Chipmonk Lake Colechuck Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Adventure and traveling to strange and wondrous new lands is in my family blood. My ancestors explored Northeast America and served with General Washington during the Revolutionary War. We had family on the Mayflower. We have had senators that served and one of my favorite is my ancestor Noah Webster who wrote the dictionary and create the copyright law. So what is my point you ask? I am an explorer and am not afraid to grab my gear and hike into the wilderness alone.

But how can you go into the wilderness alone with all those wild animals out there, something might happen to you. Your right something did happen. You see I feel at home out there. No stress, no schedule, no one to tell me when I can do anything or for how long. This is my time. How can any human being not appreciate God creation. There is no way humans could ever create anything that perfect and beautiful. We do not have the power. Thank God for that. We can’t control what power we do have.

Do not fear for me when I am out there alone for I am never alone. God is with me always. I’ve talked to him. Told him how incredible are his creations. That he should get an award for creating so much beauty, not that he needs one. My companions are the animals, clean water to drink and the music of nature all around me. It touches the soul and reminds us all that we are never alone.

“Nature is it’s own symphony.”

I remember the first time I hiked up to 2nd Burroughs in Mt. Rainier National Park. From Sunrise parking lot I hike up toward the West then turn to your left, and climb up the trail. There is a rest area up there. I stood in awe of the biggest mountain I have ever laid my eyes on. Standing before me was a thing of beauty that my words are inadequate to describe. It was immense and I felt so small yet so free. You see when I am out there I am truly free. At least while I am in the wild, “man” does not rule me.

While resting on a stone I enjoyed the company of a chipmunk feeling the cold mountain air as it caressed my face and the warmth of the sun. I grinned knowing that I was not alone but in the company of the greatest creator of all time.

Climbers on Mt. Rainier

I am not in the above picture but this is the type of terrain I was climbing in back in 2002. I remember during my assent leaning back and the feeling of awe; the mountain seemed to go on for ever, and I almost fell over backwards looking up.

My mind is clear, my lungs are clean and my soul is refreshed for I am with him now…in this moment of silence.