View from a Bleak Peak

It’s a blog party! I’m linking up with Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria girls today. C’mon over!

Brent and I celebrated our anniversary last week with a vacation trip to Colorado. In the flurry of excitement and trying to pack for three seasons’ potential weather over five days, my blog has been sadly neglected. But at least we remembered to ask one of our kind neighbors to feed the dogs.

If you’re married, you know that sometimes marriage is a thrilling roller coaster ride. But much of the time it more closely resembles a long, slow climb. It seemed fitting, then, that our anniversary found us at the base of Pikes Peak, boarding the Cog Railway for the nine-mile climb to the top. As advised, we sipped water to keep from reacting to the altitude change. After all, we would climb about a mile and a half in 80 or 90 minutes.

All the way up, the scenery kept changing. The station, surrounded by thick deciduous and evergreen woods, boasted planters and baskets full of bright flowers. Higher up, the aspens dwindled, replaced by more and more Christmas trees. Later the forest thinned out and finally we went above the tree line altogether.

Up in the Alpine tundra zone, both plant life and oxygen were noticeably scarce. We did see a fuzz of tundra grass, which the tour conductor said grows less than 1/30 of an inch per year. It barely even looked green. A few clusters of tough-looking yellow flowers grew between the rocks that covered parts of the ground.

What a bleak place, I thought, in spite of the fantastic views.

Then Brent pointed out a bighorn sheep resting on a big, flat rock. Regally ignoring the chug-chug of our diesel train, the sheep stared off into the distance. “What does he eat?” we wondered. Far down the slope I could see what looked like pretty decent grazing. What was the sheep doing way up here where it might take a century to grow a square meal? I felt sorry for the big guy.

Later, it dawned on me that I was wasting my sympathy. The sheep was not trapped at that alpine elevation. There was neither fence nor shepherd anywhere for miles around. Clearly, out of the million-plus acres of Pike national forest, Bighorn was sitting precisely where he chose to sit.

After a truly enjoyable trip we went home and I realized that I had forgotten to read my Bible all week. I hadn’t spent much time praying, either. I had connected with God in other ways, such as through reading a novel that I’ll tell you about next time. But the fascinating places and busy schedule had pulled a lot of my attention away from him. I was becoming spiritually undernourished.

Bighorn and his bleak grazing prospects came to mind. Frankly, I felt a bit… sheepish.

As near as I can figure, when I find myself on spiritual tundra, it’s because I have chosen to live away from the good grazing. But I’m getting back on track now.

Bon appétit!

Thanks for reading,
Jan

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11 Responses to View from a Bleak Peak

  1. Maureen says:

    Great perspective! And, if you looked to the south from the top of Pike’s Peak, you could see where we live. Thanks for visiting at my blog, too.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Jan
    It sounds like you had a very interesting trip, loved the writeup about your view of the sheep.
    I was thinking of the lost sheep when I was reading your blog. God has created some wonderful stories to go along with the beautiful world He created for us to enjoy.
    Good grazing to you. Thanks and God bless you and Brent on your 34 years of marriage.
    Love, Mom

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  3. I get what you mean — sometimes I think I’m nourishing myself but then realize as I come into a new space that things look bleak. Praying for both of us — that we would be well-nourished!

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    • Jan says:

      Hi, Jen! After all we’ve been through together, my blogbot stuck your comment in “spam” and I just now saw it. The nerve!
      Thanks for praying and for the kind words. I had a hunch at least a few of the SDG girls would relate.
      Love you!

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  4. Dionne says:

    Hi Jan, I live about 5 hours from where you visited…too bad I couldn’t meet you in person! Could you pray for me? I have had a blah feeling towards writing…today I did, but anyways…could use prayer. I love your story of the Bighorn sheep…they are fun to watch and seriously own certain parts of Colorado! Yes, I don’t like it when I don’t graze (add any dumb excuse) in God’s word and when I don’t spend time with Him…I am like that barren beauty. Congratulations for 34 years of marriage…awesome!

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    • Jan says:

      Hi, Dionne! I hope to meet you in person some day, too. I’ll pray about your writing… I can certainly relate, no blog post for a couple of weeks and I was barely even working on my fiction project. I always figure, if I can’t think of anything to blog about, I probably shouldn’t that day. Blessings!

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  5. marlece says:

    Janice, 34 years. You are one to talk wisdom about marriage. You have been thru many years. I am going thru kind of a blah time with the Lord myself. But, I have learned that sometimes when I’m ‘not feeling’ it the Lord has something big for me on the horizon. Kind of the calm before the storm if you know what I mean. You are an amazing woman of God who lives each day not preachin’ but living. I like! (smile)

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    • Jan says:

      Marlece, Thank you for such a sweet comment! You encourager, you! I understand about having a “blah” spiritual time, more than just my recent little vacation lag. But your perspective on the Lord having something big on the horizon… wow! I’ll have to watch and wait, AND get back on track with my Bible! (I’ve finally finished Matthew and am inching my way through Titus.)

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  6. Pingback: Flaming Flashback: Another Hot Summer | Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story

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