A reflection from my last day spent in Colter Bay in Grand Teton National Park in August of 2017…
I hiked a little way on the Lake Trail this morning before hunkering down on a big rock at the water’s edge. You can read more about that trek from an earlier blog post, Stones that Sing, here.
I am in awe of the Teton range. The way they jut up into the sky. The way their rock shines in the sunlight. The way the frosting of glaciers decorates them. The way the clouds move around them. Today the clouds are hanging in their valleys, wrapping their peaks like a cowl. Hovering over them like halos or crowns. So alive. So stunning.
It is hard for me to believe that when we stopped through here on our way to Yellowstone a few summers ago, we couldn’t see them. There was such a thick fog that day that we couldn’t see them. At all. We had no idea of the massive beauty that was hidden just through the fog. We didn’t have time to stay and see them reveal themselves. What else is right there in front of me that I can not see?
Stopping and waiting. Being still for a long while. There is an art to it. Takes practice.
So much of my life is moving forward, pushing through time to cram the most in. To achieve, to complete. Not wanting to miss anything, I rush. What is my hurry?
I have stopped and been still often during this trip. Stopped and sat with no other motive than I want to. I have been still and have paid attention. And I have seen things so magnificent that I am convinced that stillness is a holy pursuit. I have heard the wind sing a song. I have felt the difference in the temperature of winds sweeping across the plains as opposed to the winds coming from the mountains. I have sat still, watching the clear, smooth water long enough to see the tiny wake made by a fish or insect that I can’t see. Skittering along in an unpredictable path. I have watched the clouds amble along the ridge. I have seen the sunlight illuminate various slivers of mountain. Here, look at this cliff face and see how it shines. Now, focus on this valley where the glacier once lay. See how it has shaped this place. See how it has changed it. See how it has been changed. See the mighty peak one moment and the next, it is hidden again. Look at the lovely thick forest rim as the mountain sinks down into the water. So verdant and full of life.
I would like to see what is hidden beneath the lake. Dive down deep and see the footprint of the glaciers.
I woke at 6am this morning, but I did not leave the warmth of my bed until nearly 10. I savored a pattern of reading a little, then napping. My breakfast was a piece of dark chocolate and the last few sips of my Diet Dr. Pepper. I thought about my sermon for the coming Sunday. I missed home and reflected on the goodness of this time away. And then, I would doze off once again. There were periodic rain storms so it felt absolutely right that I lazily ease into the day. I don’t think there have been any other slow mornings like that on this trip. It felt simultaneously wasteful and decadent.
My mind is curious about things I was too busy to even know to consider before. Here, my spirit is grounded and I don’t feel like a visitor, I feel like a part of this living, breathing, ecosystem. I delight in my leisure. I breathe in it’s luxury.
My God, a little animal just poked his head up from about twelve feet away from me. Not sure what it was. He spotted me and froze. I spooked him as I slowly reached for my camera. He was right alongside the path. So close. All these travelers have no idea. I hope he shows himself again. But I am guessing there are too many noisy humans. Yes, I need to buy some bear spray and a hiking stick and whatever else real explorers do so that they can have solitude without being reckless. I think maybe it was an otter. I’d like to see him again. Perhaps, he is as curious about me as I am about him?
Clouds are moving in. Clouds heavy with rain like a cow needing to be milked. I ought to pack up and find some shelter. But I want to feel, smell, and see that moment of their release. I want to hear the joyous symphony as the water falls on these thirsty stones. I want to see their dazzling beauty. I will join them with a rain dance of gratitude.