I have a vascular attachment to this land where mountain peaks end in the sky. Being here with friends makes it all the more palatable. It is easy to become enraptured by this expansive panorama and the forlorn sounds of nature. The biota provides a bath for the soul. In this tranquil setting the most humble soul can become the monarch of the mountains.
This uncorrupted land still has the pristine beauty it must have had in it primordial moment. This is the apex where the earthly and ethereal embrace.
The serenity bestowed on this setting by the Creator makes it easy and enjoyable to connect and engage with Him. Not even the cold winds that drive nails of ice into the body can touch the soul or chill the fervor of one’s spirit.
This time of year the mountains are radiantly aglow as the scenic vista of fall’s flush bursts into a galaxy of color. Nature is enrobed in a coat of many colors.
In the early morning as you say farewell to an all too brief night the dawn’s escalating red and purple light chases shadows from the vista of fall foliage. Caffeine is not needed to clear away the cloudy mental fog and jump-start a new day.
Dawn comes as quietly as butterflies dancing on velvet. A tsunami of light silently pushes back the iron-gray first blush of early dawn. A large sprawl of Aspen begins its soon too brilliant golden glow as the rheostat is turned up on a new day. The numerous night creatures retire for the day as a new cast of animals begin to assert themselves. The stage is always active.
Caution needs to be exercised lest one become too unaware of the inherent danger that abounds. Rocky ledges provide little footholds that can instantly give way along perpendicular precipices. When a dislodged piece of shale gives way there is a long silence before the sound of it rises from far below.
This is the fourth year I have come here with friends from Georgia. Each year new beauty and wonders unexpectedly unfold to strengthen bonds forged on the anvil of mutual dependency. I feel very fortunate to drink deeply from the fountain of friendship. Friendship is the denominator that makes any hunt a success.
For ages humans have hunted the elk of this range called wapiti by Native Americans. Like beef for McDonald’s these beautiful animals are a staple in the diet of many. It is one of the most nutritious of meats. The economy of the state is enhanced by the influx of hunters and the balance of nature aided thereby.
This land bestows a warehouse of memories upon those who will treasure them. As aide-memoire I photographed much of it from sun kissed crowing crags to the majestic spread of the far horizons.
King David must have a seminal moment in the mountains when he wrote, “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills from which comes my help. My help comes from the Lord.”
The understated esthetics of these majestic mountains is indeed helpful to the soul.
The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church. For copies of previous columns visit www.nelsonprice.com