Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wild Winds


The third day of our Canadian adventure found us in a large pontoon boat, motoring twenty-five miles upriver to a section of the river that narrowed considerably.  Our plan was to hike up a series of pristine waterfalls and find individual quiet places along the way where we would each spend several hours alone in solitude, prayer, and meditation. 
My spot turned out to be alongside the waterfall of a narrow river that fed into the Montreal.  I made myself a small fire on the rock and settled in, though the rushing noise of the waterfall was so constant and dominant that I eventually had to walk upstream to find a quieter spot.  Once there, the silence touched me, as did the gentle brush of the wind on my face. 
At the end of the three hours, with evening setting in, we descended down blueberry-laden paths (eating our fill along the way) and returned to our entry point, where we immediately built a campfire on a large rock cliff next to the river.  Directly downriver, and demanding attention, was an immensely large full moon, bright and beautiful as could be, rising slowly up from the edge of the world.  In the background, the steady and unchanging sound of the rushing water could again be heard.
 This sound of rushing water brought me back to a time earlier that summer when I led horseback rides through the forest.  I can vividly remember riding on my horse through a trail with walls of tall red pines on each side, hearing the wind so clearly high in the tree tops.  It was like a great rushing sound, mostly unseen, and it came and went randomly.  Each time it arrested me.  I sometimes wondered if my horse noticed it, too.  There was just something about itsomething mysterious—all around me, but I was unable to grasp it with my hands or see it with my eyes.
            Wind.  Another fingerprint of God that, like fire and rivers, holds great parallels to the spiritual life.

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