I find God’s presence in the outdoors a balm to my sometimes bruised spirit. I can leave that box in His care and find respite in a strenuous trail with a good friend. And while I’m writing this before the fact, I know that as you read this, I am on that trail with Elaine going up Mt. Bierstadt and crossing over Sawtooth and onto Mt. Evans. I know that I am short of breath in this altitude, but I also know the view is breathtaking.
We don’t talk much going uphill, but we enjoyed our camp-out last night: played guitar and sang camp songs, and talked about our hopes and dreams for the school year, and giggled like a couple of little girls over some goofy thing we said. We had an early and groggy start to the day so that we could hit the trail by 3:30 or 4AM. Our senses relived so many horse pack trips in the mountains, and we both probably wondered why we weren’t on horseback now!
But today was the culmination of our summer hiking season and I know, no matter what happened, that we had a great day and will be talking about it through the winter, and that it will spark our ideas for next summer’s hiking dreams. It will be a long, hard day, but when we come down off the mountain, as we all must, we will be renewed for the school season to come. In those difficult moments that all teachers face, we will be able to look back at the many trails we conquered and remind ourselves that if we could do that, we can certainly handle whatever situation comes before us. And just maybe, we’ll remember to stop, look, and appreciate those beautiful moments of grace.