Drizzly days disperse sunny day shadows casting the landscape with a muted, impressionist, Monet haze.
Such was mine on a wilderness wander up Castle Mountain today. Other than an unexpected spill crossing a swamp . . . resulting in an ‘invigorating’ mud bath . . . it was an tranquil, color splashed antithesis to ‘fun in the sun’.
A hot shower and scrumptious dinner prepared by my patient, understanding wife was a welcome finale. I M Blessed . . . May U B 2
“He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous.”
Tundra’s fall color peak is an ephemeral event, lasting but a few days. This year we were blessed to catch this incredible kaleidoscopic explosion of colors at Denali National Park.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s 7,000. They scarcely begin to define the vibrant hues of crimson and gold carpeting the vast wilderness that silently awed us in wonder. Wish you could have been there.
“… I stand in awe of your deeds Lord …” – Habakkuk 3:2
“Thanks for the food Lord, and please let the sun come out.” Such was my short breakfast appeal prayed over Wendy’s sausage egg croissants and free senior coffee . . . senior coffee is a freebie at Wendy’s for all ole duffers 😊
Ellie and I were headed north to Denali National Park to visit good friends and hopefully be in Denali’s 30% Club – the mountain makes its own weather and only 30% of folks visiting DNP see North America highest mountain reaching 20,320 ft. into the heavens.
Gray clouds dampened our trip with intermittent to heavy deluges until, ‘coincidentally’, upon reaching the outskirts of DNP the weather suddenly shifted to partly cloudy with intermittent sunshine. We even got to see part of Denali peeking out behind its clouds . . . God hears Wendy’s breakfast prayers, and I betcha’ McDonald’s as well 😊.
The splendor of the tundra’s fall colors is truly indescribable, so rather than butcher it with my shoddy prose, here’s a few pictures of the wonder that surrounded us.
“Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place.” – I Chronicles 16:27
The Hebrew language richly conveys feeling, intent, and emotion. Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, is my favorite. It’s used to greet and bid farewell to people, but expresses an all-encompassing peace that is so much more.
Strong’s Concordance defines Shalom as completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, and the absence of agitation or discord . . . today’s world is in dire need of an infusion of Shalom.
Shalom is displayed on our well house. A few years back it prompted a humorous encounter. Arriving home from town one afternoon, a note with a phone number was on our door, “Please call us.”
I called, and a friendly voice answered, thanking me for calling back. Identifying himself as a rabbi, he explained that he and another rabbi had been exploring the rural environs of the Matanuska Borough seeking fellow Jews to invite to their recently established synagogue in Wasilla, AK. They noticed Shalom on our well house and had left the note on our door.
“Are you Jewish?“, the rabbi asked.
“No,” I politely replied, “but my boss is a Jewish carpenter.”
“Could you give us his name?”, he responded.
“Jesus”, I said with a smile . . . he immediately realized I wasn’t a frozen chosen candidate for his congregation 😊
Sometime later I met the rabbi at his synagogue’s booth at the Alaska State Fair and we shared smiles together.
Last evening Shalom silently embraced my soul as the Creator placed an effulgent patch of rainbow across the lake to end the day.
Awakening this morning, Shalom’s peace lingered. Stoking up the woodstove and pouring a steaming cup of coffee, I sat astonished beyond comprehension pondering how, despite the self-hatred of my countless past felonious faults, failures and foibles, and those I may make today in the future . . . I’ll forever remain my Abba’s beloved child.
Opening the You VersionBible app, this Shalom tribute formed in my thoughts . . .
S H A L O M
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
“In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.”
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
“I have told you these things that you may have peace.In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
“Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and glory are in His sanctuary”.
A friend in the Lower 48 brought a smile to my face when they asked, “What is determination dust?”
It’s called termination dust, and refers to the first snow that appears on Alaskan mountaintops signaling the end of summer. Actually, termination dust is an oxymoronic term . . . many Last Frontier mountains are covered with snow year round.
Anyhoo . . . I stepped out on the deck this morning to snap a couple pics of this ‘dust’ you can ski on for those of you who may not have experienced it. As I did so, an eagle was soaring above the mountains about a mile away . . . far beyond the range my basic $300 35mm camera’s capabilities of capturing with any clarity. But . . . for youse guys blessed with ‘eagle eye’ vision . . . see if you can spot our national symbol in the Termination Dust #1 pic before viewing the Termination Dust and Eagle pic. If you’re still having difficulty seeing ‘ole’ Baldy, I hear Wal *Mart is offering a special on glasses with a free vision exam
Each time I see an eagle, His assurance in Isaiah 40:31 comes to mind:
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagle; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
After nearly 80 years on the planet, walking has become a tad easier than running, but waiting is still not my forte
For the past three days the sun has taken a hiatus from the Last Frontier. Continual, confining drizzles have taken up residence, raising creeks and dampening spirits. As an ole retired dude, I’ve a favorite dampening antidote . . . curling up with a book until the sun returns from vacation. Turning pages by the fire . . . it’s 49 degrees here, with fresh ‘termination dust’ on the mountain summits . . . this sobering quote by an unknown author rose from the page:
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life.
We’ve added years to our lives, but not life to our years.
We’ve cleaned up the air but polluted our soul.
We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.
We plan more but accomplish less.
We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.
These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw-away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.
It’s a time when there’s much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom.
Penned nearly two decades ago, these words poignantly describe today’s hectic, chaotic, divided world. Regretfully, we’ve come a long way the wrong way.
Whoa Freddy !!! . . . time to get out of the drizzle and ponder more positive musings.
Of all the countless blessings living in the Greatland offers, two of my favorites are the Solitude and Silence this rugged, vast stretch of wilderness provides. ‘S’ & ‘S’ aren’t luxuries, they’re mental health essentials!
Often, when wandering through His mountain cathedrals, an old hymn written in 1889 drifts into my thoughts:
This is my Father’s world, And to my listening ears All nature sings and round me rings The music of the spheres. This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas– His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world: The birds their carols raise, The morning light, the lily white, Declare their Maker’s praise. This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair; In the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father’s world: O let me ne’er forget That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: Why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King: let the heavens ring! God reigns; let earth be glad!
Hey . . . guess what? . . . he rain is still coming down outside, but the sun has come back out inside😊. The dampening antidote of curling up with a book works! Time to get up outta’ the Lazy Boy and put another log on the fire.
I heeded John Muir’s motto today … “The mountains are calling and I must go”… across the lake, Castle Mountain whispered my name.
The trek up took a tad longer than usual. Yes, I’m a year older since my last climb, but I suspect sampling the ripening blueberries along the trail accounted for some extra climb time 😊
Scolding squirrels, chirping birds, a soaring eagle, and a lone moose were my only companions journeying through a wilderness ablaze with fireweed and other wildflower blooms. Distant snow-caps and glistening glaciers beckoned future hikes to conquer… my paradise this side of heaven!
On top, mountain breezes chased clouds across the endless vista as I sat in awe, listening as creation silently spoke “Be still and knowthat I am God” to my soul … an escape from the world’s busyness I wish each of you could enjoy.
Returning home this evening I was greeted by a lovingly prepared, fresh, scrumptious halibut dinner … Life is good and I am blessed beyond measure! … May you be also.
Early morning rains gave way to 50-60 mph wind gusts as Grant and I hiked up above tree line in Arctic Valley today. Unlike my son, I didn’t have to be concerned about the wind messing up my hair 😊. . . Fun Day!
“The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning to its course.” – Ecclesiastes 1:6