Deeper and deeper we drive into the West. With every mile passed I feel smaller, slower, and more appreciative. There is a heritage in this land and the highway winds itself into it. I have only my eyes and camera to capture each piece of aged story.
South Dakota spreads rugged and royal, defying intrusion, occasionally offering relief in fields of whispering prairie grass guarded by the ageless rock sentries.
Wyoming, on the other hand, is like a wild woman leading us by asphalt ribbon over flat dry country to dizzying heights of knife-like boulders. Like the rocks in Crazy Woman Canyon, her dress of jagged crevices and spires, is stratified in zigzagged stripes of greens, reds, purples, and greys, shaded and subdued by the weather pursuing her ancient beginnings.
This land – all of it – was once the home of Indians. The rocks, mountains, rivers, grasslands, sunlight and darkness were theirs. They thrived on buffalo, wild game, and small crops, moving their communities to accommodate their simple, necessary needs. The Indian tribes fought fiercely their own invading people, skin hunters, gold diggers, cowboys, and wary settlers, for this land we so easily and comfortably drive through. Ultimately, they lost all their battles, but they have left their spirit. At times, standing beneath behemoth buttes, towering rocks, or along bubbling streams, I feel as if I should tip toe so not to disturb the sleeping stories. The wind, always cool in the close heat of the sun, welcomes my visit and knows my thoughts at the same time.
The sky covering the magnificent mass is a reminder that God the Creator of it all hovers close to the present and the past. I am humbled by the majesty of His creation in the western landscape of our country. There is a serenity surpassing description, which is arresting in view of today’s world affairs. I wonder, gazing at a presence such as the Grand Tetons, “Is this what the glory of God looks like?”
And this has been my quest. Embarking on a 90-plus day trip to places I’ve never been and have been perfectly content to look at in pictures was a challenge I had to take in faith. But I did it because God indicated He wanted to show me something when my prayer had been, “God, show me Your Glory.” I also came aboard because my husband is following his dream.
Have you ever been with someone living his dream? Quite possibly, this joy seen in another is a glimpse of God’s glory and is as breathtaking as suddenly being confronted by a rock so magnificent you can only stare in wonder. The glorious joy is over-powering. If my husband’s head could pivot 360 degrees while he exclaims the unfolding of all he had imagined, a map of creational glory would surround me!
Together with our Schnauzer, Sophie, we have rolled through rustic friendly cowboy-Indian towns with legend-originated names - Ten Sleep, Crow Heart, Deadwood, Jackson Hole, and our current homestead, Flagg Ranch. Defying my doubts to be able visit “real America” because our rig was too big to fit along the streets in towns, let alone pull into vehicle parking places, Dan zipped the motorhome into a three-car space to parallel park like a pro, so we could disembark for lunch in Dubois, Wyoming, a quiet village on the Wind River. Here we met Blake, an artist who carves intricate scenes on elk horns and is a historian of the Indian folklore and landmarks of his hometown. It was from this wind-hewn gentle-voiced craftsman that we learned that the meandering Wind River that feeds into the Colorado, Columbia, and Missouri Rivers is a source of water for two-thirds of our entire nation. Over our buffalo burgers and homemade chips at the Cowboy Café, Dan and I marveled at how something as alluring and serene as a bubbling brook or the rushing rhapsody of a river could be the source of power and nourishment for the needs of a whole country.
God’s glory rises with a Truth. We, mere mortals who believe in Jesus Christ, are also sources of strength, love, and peace for a parched and hungry world.
“ Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:38)
This Living Water is the life and character of the LORD Himself flowing from His Spirit within us – love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, and goodness, all empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit.
I am being caught unaware as this journey brings me closer into God’s glory. Whether in panoramic phenomena, the unfolding of Creation, or treasured stories and legends, the reality of His Presence with us is everlasting.