And the day God breathed upon your still life, stirring into being the green leaf and the flower, bud upon the branch and light
upon your soul. Here you felt the earth’s air on your petals and your leaves, and squinted into sunlight, gazing high for heaven
until you felt the gardener’s hand gently turning soil and soul, and nurturing you, bud in radiant sun.
Cascading rain absorbed in warm earth turning, heaven of fragrance. What is that sound in the wind and dazzling light?
Oh, the sweet sound of your delight in God. Sometimes it is like the sound of running laughter.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Old Growth Forests and the Quiet of the Ancient

It seemed like only a few days ago that I was running in Vancouver BC, and now I was standing at the trail entry to Bridle Trails State Park near Seattle, Washington. I had seen it on the maps. It looked intriguing – and it was; the same lofty pines reaching into the heavens. Looking up I tried to take in the forest canopy far above, holding out the light, misty rain with an intimate coolness. To take it in, took my breath away; a vast and ancient covering. There just are no words to convey being in this ancient place. I seemed suspended in time. Then the trails beckoned me. It was 3:30pm Monday, 19 October 2009 and I was on the trails. Over the next hour and 50 minutes (1:50) I covered 6.84 miles ascending 3252 feet and descending 3199 for a humbling pace of 16:10 minutes per mile. But this was fine by me, I was here to enjoy this beautiful place and soak up God’s natural wonders afresh. Dashing among the ferns and the old stumps of long ago, I breathed in the fragrance of the woods. And the quiet; oh, the treasured, hallowed quiet of these massive, ancient forests. At one point I came to a large clearing in the trees of about 150 feet in across. I felt like I was in the huge hall of a cathedral, the spires rising into the heavens, the silence across the huge open space, and a hallowed atmosphere hanging in the magical air. All this was further heightened by the autumn colors bursting richly into view. As I emerged from the trees and headed for my car, I felt as if I’d just come from a prayer time with God. The run was good and the atmosphere was deeply moving. I came away with a renewed clarity that God, my God, the Lord of the heavens and the earth – He had made it all; and I had just been with Him in His beautiful creation. He was everywhere.

During the week my colleagues suggested another place for running. Friday I headed for Saint Edwards State Park. I got to the place about noon, and had only time for an hour-long run before taking off to the airport. So off I went. This park was also stunning in its ancient beauty and rich forest coverings, the ferns and underbrush, the splay of fall colors and the high-over-head canopy of leaves, the trails twisting along a natural flow of the land, first winding through the trees, and then descending, descending, descending until I stood on the shore of Lake Washington. A quick check on the time, and I was burning up the steep incline and dashing along the trails that I had just covered going the other way. In the initial stage of my run I had maintained an active though not crazy pace. Now I was pushing the clock and needed to make swift tracks. I noticed that even though I was really cruising as I came out of the woods heading for my car, I could not ignore the glory that hangs – it seems always to hang – in these forest lands. In 57 minutes I covered 3.87 miles for a pace of 14:43. I had ascended 2614 feet and descended 2621. I think these woods have made my heart a little bigger. In some ways, God seems closer still to me – having been in these old-growth forests.

It is a good thing to look long and quietly at the world that God has made. I am so glad that I can run them and experience these places, taste these wonders, these declarations of His glory and magnificence. These were old-growth forests, ancient and deeply beautiful in their glory. And yet they pale beside their maker. If these woods and their delight can take my breath away, what shall become of me? God’s glory is immeasurably greater and more wonderful. If I were not infinitely loved, I would be afraid. But I trust Him wholly. These runs have shown me ancient forests. And yet it is the Ancient of Days that I run after. It is Him that I seek. Will you come? Let’s run hard and true. It is not the woods that call to us, it is the Lord Himself.


Mel Arroz said...


Enjoying a day off here in Idaho and sun is shining and 61 to be the high.

Yard work is calling so need to get out there before the rain starts falling on Thursday evening. Glad to see you adding to your blog.

Keep smiling & stay close to His heart!


Abbey von Gohren said...

Love this post. I miss Washington!

But we miss you more!!! Can't wait to hang out soon.