As I wandered through Coyote Gulch I found myself stopping every few steps to take a picture of what appeared to be the most beautiful piece of scenery I had ever seen. I soon realized there was no way to capture it all, my phone would not hold enough pictures to bring back home with me what I was seeing… and feeling.  As my eyes paused at every square inch of my surroundings I slowly comprehended that I need not capture or bring home the beauty. It was everywhere.  

As I walked along the stream looking at the tall canyon walls I asked myself, and even said aloud to the person walking next to me…. “if you had to paint this scene, what colors would you mix to create the color of that wall… how do you even describe that color?”  I used to believe my box of 96 crayons contained every color imaginable….. ohhhhhhh…. was I ever wrong.  

I began to notice the contrast of the blue sky, the red rocks, the green leaves, the white water and wonder how long it took God to determine what would be the absolute most pleasing combination he could offer in this setting for His children.  

Being in that gulch felt surreal.  It felt as though we had been placed into a globe or a playground made just for us.  I commented to others that it felt as if we were in a setting similar to that of the “Hunger Games”.  I don’t know that the beauty could be duplicated by man.

As I looked at the curves, the colors, and the shadows, combined with the millions of species of plants I asked my friends…”do you ever stop and wonder which detail of Gods creations He made especially for you, because He knew it was your favorite?”

As I reflect back on not only what my eyes beheld, but what my spirit felt, I just cannot buy into the fact that this earth was an accident… that somehow, when two atoms collided or exploded or whatever the theory is, that something as beautiful as this earth was created…. that the placement and texture, color and scent, temperature and variety of all that exists on this planet “just happened”. 

I understand it is hard to believe in things unseen, I took my own sweet time to believe God lives…. but I know He does.  I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I have learned to feel truth in my body, and to trust what my body tells me.  God loves us, every one of us.  He knows us and understands us perfectly, He created us.  He is a God of abundance and on the days when I question why He allows such suffering I have to reflect on His creations and why He would go to such detail if He didn’t want us to experience joy. I completely understand why so many feel closer to God in nature than anywhere else.  It is the very best place to feel of His love for us.

As I made the two-mile trek uphill in hot sand to climb out of the gulch, it felt as if I were making no progress.  Each step was hard, hot, and painful.  The load I carried was so heavy.  Each time I stopped to get a drink and look around it appeared I was getting nowhere.  It reminded me of life.  There are so many days I feel that very same way… no progress, no joy, only heat, pain and a heavy load.  Eventually the car was in sight and I was able to look back from where I had come.  

On the drive home from my hike I realized the importance of slowing down, stepping outside of my comfort zone, doing things I’d not done before…. How will we see all God has created for us if we don’t step off the hamster wheel, out of the rat race? How will we feel of His love if we live in our head and don’t recognize the feelings in our bodies?  

I am so grateful for my friend, Leslie, who when I told her I would love to go backpacking with her said, “make it happen”.  I am so grateful for all of the people God places in my life at the right time, in the perfect place.  

Anodea Judith says, “Because we have not taken the time to catch up with ourselves, we are living on the leftovers of where we have been or the preparations of where we are going”.  If I forget to do this, please remind me.  Leslie… if I fall back into my old ways, please drag my sorry butt back to Coyote Gulch.