“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord . . .” – Isaiah 11:3
While on a hiking excursion in Big Bend National Park a couple of years ago, Tee and I decided to venture up Emory Peak, which at 7,832 feet is the highest elevation in Big Bend. Equipped with an ample supply of water, sunscreen and granola bars we set out on the 9.3-mile roundtrip journey. For the most part, the climb is a modest challenge, ascending along a comfortably wide switchback trail — “ that is, until near the pinnacle where it becomes a bit more treacherous as the path narrows considerably and is fraught with stretches of loose stones that could easily cause one to slip. Being the oldest among the other hikers we encountered that day, we were also by far the slowest, but our perseverance, and humility, paid off when we finally got to experience that majestic view from the summit.
On another occasion, several years earlier while visiting Yellowstone National Park, we had started up the side of mountain along a trail that all too quickly led into some dense woods and a scarcely traveled single-file path. Fearing a bear encounter as the trail grew darker, or worse, getting completely lost, we were about to give up and turn around when we spotted a clearing up ahead. Suddenly we stepped out into the most breath-taking mountain meadow we had ever imagined where we could see for miles in every direction.
I find myself hypnotized by mountains, being drawn toward them like a siren’s song. I look up and imagine the summit as a place where one can see forever, where life begins to make sense, and the presence of the Creator is nearby, a place that refreshes the soul. But as someone once said, if you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t see the view. So, I climb as my age and ability allow.
We all have our places, I suspect, where life makes more sense, and we can feel the presence of the Creator nearby. For me it is the mountains, but for you it may be the beach, the ocean, a flowing stream or river, the plains or a desert, a library or house of worship. Whatever our respective “mountain” may be, that place that refreshes our soul, may we visit there from time to time, and experience its majestic view. “Come,” the prophet Isaiah urges, “let us go to the mountain of the Lord.”