Hiking in Autumn

November 3, 2009

Peace. The only sound that surrounds me is the chorus of crickets and katydids and the nervous chatter of the creek as it pushes water up, over and around broken and disassembled stone. Lifting myself up on a stone perch, I almost slip as my fingers find the soft touch of moss hard to grip. I feel the cold stone through my jeans as I rest on the ancient foundation of a bridge with no road and no destination to boast of. Time has worn away his pride and the only paths to this place are traveled on foot. If you wish to cross this creek, you must learn to become a master rock-hopper.

The chill grows deeper in the air as the day pushes its way nearer to the close. The blue sky is fading to gray, pushing us ever nearer to the end of the year, but the foliage is still on fire in this turning of the seasons. Red, yellow and orange decorate trees once so deep green, once so fresh and innocent. Today the air is still and the leaves cling to their lives. Plenty have fallen to the ground; however, and they decorate with color the ferns and ivy still green against the dark brown earth. This is the time in between, the transition of seasons where one still longs for the glory of the sun but is fully aware that the harvest must be gathered up and stored for the long darkness. It won’t be long before the fire burns the leaves to brown and the mighty trees look just like sticks gathered about a wasteland, dead and sterile. But death here is just a trick. It won’t be long after the darkness that new buds appear and the gold and the green spring forth anew!

Still, the chill here and now reminds me of where I am presently. The smell of the earth and the must of the leaves is so great I can taste it in my mouth. Into my pores it invades my senses. There is no faint fragrance of flowers; the air is crisp, but the essence of a rain soaked earth rises up to my nostrils and into my mouth. New life is always ahead, but we must travel the path of the seasons in the order they come. The waters are streaming beneath me; the flow of the current shiny and then dark as the reflection moving in and out of the light and shadows reminds me of how fluid time is. There is no stopping it. There is no pause button out here. The light, pasty foam gathering on the running waters give testimony that you can circle around once or twice, but you must keep moving on.

I like to go deep in the woods. Far, far away to a place no cell phone tower could ever reach me. It is only here in Nature’s “silence” that my racing thoughts of worry and dismay can be drowned out. It is only on old paths that lead into nowhere that I can find who I am and where I stand. This is where I find my peace. There is a Spirit in nature that we can connect with. Our natives knew him well and had a deep respect for him. They knew how well connected everything really is. They paused and listened for the stillness. They listened in the stillness. They could hear the voice of the Great Spirit and they drank deep the cup of his wisdom. As we walk into the depths of creation, we meet our Creator. It is through him the stillness comes, and in the stillness, our rest, and in our rest new life is found. New energy and new ideas is found to conquer crowded agendas and to bring healing to hurting hearts. Nature cheats death every year. She is forever connected with her Creator. We can share in the same miracle. No matter what season we are in, we must delve deep into the wilderness, take in the glory and the beauty, and we can emerge with confidence that new life is just around the bend.

Peter L Richardson

“Hiking the PA Grand Canyon”

I tried to take a photo,
          but I couldn’t capture it,
The majesty too great for the frame,
          the detail too small to focus on.

I thought I’d paint a picture,
          but memory’s not worth the glory,
And colors I can create simply
          can’t capture this creation scene.

I decided to write a poem,
          but words simply don’t describe
          the imagery I see:
Rolling mountain hills cut deep and dark
In the valley by a bright blue river sparkling
In the sun with banks damasked with pastel
Purple and white against green grass and
Trees swaying in the breeze, the warm strong
Breeze that takes my breath away…

My travel companion sighs and says,
     “A picture is worth a thousand words,
               but being there is worth a thousand pictures…”

Words cannot describe your glory, and
          this is just the basest of your art.
The books you write upon our hearts,
          how you write beauty into our soul,
          the way you clear our mind with your Spirit
          so we cannot deny it when we hear it.

Being here with you;
          every time we meet,
                    it’s like being brand new.

Peter L Richardson


2 Responses to “Hiking in Autumn”

  1. Fran Says:

    Well done, Pete! I like getting way out in the woods, too, but very seldom am able to do so. It’s been years + years. You really are a great writer! I do have to note, though, that “pours” involves moving something out of a container, while “pores” are what the “smell of the earth” used to invade your senses. 😉

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