Why go for a hike?
Jesse and I have taken up hiking in the mountains. It is amazing that we have lived in Colorado for 30 years but only recently started this practice. We have conjured up many reasons for not having done it before now – work, travel, other commitments, etc. You name it. But we now manage to carve out a day about once a week, figure out where we want to go, put together a light backpack -- including snacks, maps, rain gear, water bottle, sunscreen, and a small roll of toilet paper for those emergency situations – then gather up our hats, sunglasses, and walking sticks. There are so many great hiking trails within a short driving distance from our house in Arvada that we have rarely traveled the same trail twice.
There are those we encounter on the trail who are out for a run or a ride on their trail bikes. They usually zip passed us and cover ground quickly. We see people with their dogs and/or kids mainly out to get some fresh air and exercise. Then there are those like us – “mushroom pickers” -- who aren’t in any particular hurry but take time to enjoy the scenery including attempting to figure out the names for the various flowering plants along the path or of those little birds we see flitting around in the pine trees. Usually after our hike we come home feeling tired but exhilarated by the sights and sounds we just witnessed in creation.
I recently finished reading a book written by Diana Butler Bass, called Grounded (2015, HarperCollins Publishers: New York), about finding God in every aspect of our environment and everyday life. She quotes from a letter on Catholic teaching, “The whole universe is God’s dwelling. Earth, a very small, uniquely blessed corner of that universe, gifted with unique natural blessings, is humanity’s home, and humans are never so much at home as when God dwells with them.” She says, “not only did God create our earthly home, but God is our home” (p.169). A wonderful point to ponder.
I think anytime we can get ourselves unplugged from our everyday routines (including technology!) and get outside to see and experience the wonders of creation, we draw closer to God and God draws closer to us. So, take the time this summer to go for a walk or even a car ride into the great outdoors. Take your kids and your dog, or just go by yourself. Feel the breeze on your face, smell the wildflowers, listen to the songs of birds, and feel the presence of God welcoming you home.
Photo: Colorado Columbine
Picture taken by Jesse Brown
Golden Gate State Park, CO