We raced off for a long weekend in Colorado last week. It was an amazing, simple, primitive trip. We had little time to plan and almost nothing we needed to accomplish. Our plan was to get to the mountains, set-up our campsite and do nothing for about 50 hours. We would camp like we did when we were just starting out-cooking simple meals and relaxing around the campfire. I located a place in southern Colorado that fit my requirements, high, cool, running stream, remote and no cell service. We had never been to that area before and I was a little afraid that it would be "Colorado light." I was wrong. I was spectacular.
We drove on Friday night to Amarillo and spent the night and then drove the rest of the way on Saturday. We took our time stopping by a National Monument, Capulin, and eating at a great sandwich shop in Trinidad. Then we drove into the mountains. We had a difficult time finding a campsite. We were turned away at four different locations. We, however, were told that we could camp anywhere in the National Forest if we could find a pull out place. We checked location after location only to find every place filled. We pulled into the last place with a plan to drive back 35 miles to a town and return in the morning to find a campsite. It was already occupied. As we were turning around the occupant motioned for us to roll down the window. He told us he was about to leave and we were welcome to the place. He quickly finished his packing and disappeared in the trees. It was as if he was holding the spot for us until we arrived.
It was perfect. It was an isolated place. Our nearest neighbors were over a half mile away. It had a large clearing perfect for our tent. A ring of rocks designated the spot for our fire. It sat twenty feet from a roaring snow melt river. The previous occupant bragged about the trees. He was right, they provided almost continuous shade. It was nestled between a steep forested mounatin side and exposed monumental soaring rocks. We lay down to sleep and the air was cold, but our sleeping bags were warm.
I got up early on Sunday morning and set up our hammocks. I picked a big strong tree and placed all four of them radiating out of it like rays of sunlight. I tied the foot of mine to a very tall Aspen tree. I had taken a book of sermons by Eugene Peterson to read. I sank back in the hammock and listened for the voice of God. I watched the Aspen leaves quiver between bright green and white. Tiny dust particles sifted through the broken shafts of light. Insect wings sparkled like a snowfield in winter. The sound of the rushing water at first overpowered and then faded into the background. I lay in the hammock and was embraced by a slow rocking motion. Then, I felt a much deeper movement.
I looked up. The top of the Aspen tree rose above its neighbors and there the wind caught it like a sail. Like vibrations on a bow the quivering came through the tree and and into me. I felt small and afloat on the sea of the forest. The tree strained and resisted, but the wind did not relent. I hung between the earth and sky surrounded by fabric and color and read the beautiful words from Genesis, "In the Beginning God Created," which formed the title to the first sermon.
There, in a cradle made of fabric, surrounded by ancient rocks and watching trees I read and listened and learned again the great lessons of God's love, God's purpose and God's leadership. I was so glad to be there with a friend who has so often helped me be with God. I was so thankful that God can speak so clearly. As it says in the book of Revelation, "his voice was like the sound of rushing waters" (Rev 1:15).
I marked the location on a map. I will return to that place.