Those of us who are privileged to live and work in Gloucestershire have the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding National Beauty as well as the Forest of Dean but the US National Parks of the Colorado Plateau are something else. These vast, empty deserts where the sun beats down from a deep blue sky, evoke inside me feelings of wonder and vulnerability. The sat/nav says: “Drive 120 miles on Route 50…” and for the next few hours we hardly see another car let alone any houses. If the hire car breaks down there’s no guarantee of picking up a phone signal. The hiking trails are delightful and usually well marked but the warning signs about rattle snakes and wild cats are quite unsettling. It’s an adventure and I feel alive. How I wish daily routine could be more of an adventure back home in Gloucestershire; don’t you?
Well, we can’t all go rushing off to the Wild West but hopefully these words by the late Edward Abbey may inspire us to step out in faith and make the most of the opportunities around us:
“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous,
leading to the most amazing view.
May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
May your rivers flow without end,
meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells,
past temples and castles and poets’ towers
into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl,
through miasmal and mysterious swamps
and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes
and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone,
and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm
where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs,
where deer walk across the white sand beaches,
where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags,
where something strange and more beautiful
and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams
waits for you beyond the next turning of the canyon walls.”
Blog by the Revd Arthur Champion, Associate Priest