The mountain path I had been hiking on for more than an hour, wove its way between peaks and meadows, ever upwards in shifting beauty. The park road had ended at the 10,000 foot elevation mark. There were no sounds of man beyond that point, just this trail to follow and enjoy. The cool, crisp autumn air was alive with the songs of birds accompanied by the rustling leaves of the golden aspens in the gentle morning breeze and the smell of pine. The woods were thinning as I came near the end of the sheltered path. I saw a rivulet running down between the trees and though I had bottled water in my pack, I paused and knelt beside it. Cupping my hands, I drank deeply of the sweet liquid. Fed by the mountains, the water was fresh and cold; it more than slacked my thirst. I stood and turned to look at the meadow beyond and saw a herd of deer grazing placidly, unafraid of human intrusion in their protected wilderness. I smiled as I absorbed the bountiful peace around me. I had reached my destination. I wasn’t here to climb the bare peaks ahead. I rarely went further than this area as I preferred to see and smell the beauty nature offered to me here.
I stood silently watching as the deer moved on before I walked out into the meadow I would claim for just this moment as my own. I held my arms out high and spun slowly round in the quiet green. I was in a bowl between the rising peaks around me. I could feel the air warming and beginning to blanket the morning chill of autumn as the sun crested beyond the towering mounts to the east. I sat upon the moist grasses and watched the shadows move across the face of the western cliff. The sky was the brilliant, clear blue that cool air creates; with swirling mists and small puffs of clouds gathering around the edges of the cliffs. I felt the earth beneath me, the air embrace me, and the joy of life filling me.
The morning mists near the top of the rocky cliff, in thin streams gathered; and there before my eyes in an instant as I sat watching, they joined as one and became a small, hovering cloud. More mist rose and quickly joined the first, swelling the trembling mass greater still with every split second that ticked before me. I stared in awe as what had only before been fragile mist, became a cotton ball of wonder. I gasped when as if alive, an entity of its own, it leapt joyfully upwards from the cliff to dance with the others gathering there. They all came together, drawn as if by a powerful magnet to become a large, beautiful white ship that then drifted off to sail the sky. I had never before witnessed the birth of a cloud.
I was reminded of the times I had watched rain fall upon a window, the fragile streams joining with others and becoming thicker and faster. This gathering of moisture was much like that but when joined with enough mass, it rose to the heavens. It seemed alive and happy to dance in freedom in the sky over me. The heavier moisture of life giving rain would come later. I thought of the water I had enjoyed as a gift from the mountain. This was the beginning of a precious cycle of life.
I nearly wept with joy and quickly offered a prayer of gratitude to God for allowing me to see the magic and mystery of His creation.
Yes I know, science could and would readily explain the phenomenon I had just witnessed. My soul felt the truth and was filled as I sat upon the ground and worshipped the beauty around me. I had found what I had travelled for that day. I carry it with me even now to pull out of my memory whenever I feel too small, knowing that I too can be as that mist was, and become something greater. I am free to dance wherever I find myself to be. I smile.
How often do we stop to see the beauty of life around us and within us wherever we are? Make the time to renew and refresh your soul.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” ~ Matthew 7:7
“I am with you always…” ~ Matthew 28:20