As my time in the Redwoods comes to an end I am struck by the irony found in the peace, wonder, and beauty. My soul is refreshed. Even one hardened and made cynical by the world finds him or her self renewed and nurtured by the setting. You cannot remain untouched! The sheer magnitude of the setting combined with the best nature has to offer. For ten days I have made my home along the plain where sits on the South Fork of the Eel River. Clearly I am a guest. Given my ignorance of the dangers, transparent and hidden, I could be nothing else. Yet the plain and all that is here touches one’s soul in way that I haven’t found in any other place.
As my time comes to an end I wonder if I am any more prepared to participate, contribute, and live in the world I know. How will the lessons of walking through the forest play out on the streets of New York? Can the icy pounding of the Pacific I experienced as I braced myself standing side by side with a good friend in a small pool carved out of the rocks make a difference in what happens in the days to come? Will I understand the peace which found in just being still in a world which bathes you in fog, sun, and a fine coating of dust?
Far too many people want to be in one place or the other. It is as if coming apart disqualifies you from participating in the mainstream. It is as if staying in the main is the only way to live. Even in an old story the purification found in one place dictated one’s choice and actions. “They [the accusers] led Jesus then from Caiaphas to the Roman governor's palace. It was early morning. They themselves didn't enter the palace because they didn't want to be disqualified from eating the Passover.” (John 18.28)
God offers us refuge and participation. We, at least I need both.
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