The Top of the Trail

All this talk about—well, the "v"-word; I'm not gonna say it; I'm sure you don't want me to and my mom taught me not to—has got me thinking about that Gore Creek Trail. Oh, there's no risk of "v" up there! 

Of all the wonders of Colorado, that beautiful Gore Creek tops the list, in my estimation. I once counted 56 different wildflowers, each blooming like crazy in the middle of August, and I wasn't even halfway to the top.  

It's important for me, whenever I go, to start that trail as early as I can. Like: before dawn. I love the solitude of course. But I also want to get to the top of that trail, where the terrain levels off and the creek spreads out into gentle expansive ponds, full of rings and the "slapping" sound of Cutthroat leaping and snapping at their breakfast. I always hope to get there before the human race spooks it all. 

So that's what I do: I set out early. 

Not that there isn't a cost to such a decision. It's a hike in the dark for a half hour or so. The mornings are chilly, even in August; I'll be puffing steam and I'll get a sore throat. My boots and pantlegs will be soaked with dew. 

And then there are the spider webs. For the life of me, I've never figured out what motivates every spider on the mountain to spend all night stretching its web from bush to branch across a trail. Why on earth have they not yet learned that, come sunrise every day without fail, hikers are going to destroy their work? Surely they aren't hoping to catch a hiker, I hope? 

All I know is: they won't catch me. I point my flyrod straight ahead as I hike, swinging the tip of it up and down to sweep the trail clean of the nasty things. Once in a while, if I don't swing high enough, the strand of a web will drape me in the face or the neck and—oh!—then do I wish I wasn't alone! Then do I wish a hiker might pass me by: "Excuse me, but could you look to see if there's anything crawling on my back or neck or anywhere back there?"  But—nope!—I'm alone. I've found my precious solitude! I tousel my head like a maniac and then push on ahead worrying about the rest of me. 

Most of the way up, the Gore Creek rages wild, but you can stop almost anywhere along the bank, drop a bead-head nymph straight down into the water and almost instantly get your 'tug'; pull up one of those exquisite things with the bright red "slash" across its throat. There's nothing more beautiful.  

Well...correction...there is something more beautiful! There's the top of the trail! 

The terrain levels off, the valley spreads out in the most peaceful silence under the sun; the creek has found peace, the ponds are at peace. There's an enormous fallen log near the best of those ponds, that will be my bench as I have my lunch when the sun finally reaches straight up. But until then, I'll just absorb it all: catch a few Cutthroat. Say 'hi', 'I won', 'be more careful next time', and let 'em go, because I never, ever want to see this place depleted! 

Do you know what I've learned down through the years dear faithful OT? The top of the trail is always worth it! No matter how tough the trail might get. 

And you and I are on a tough trail now, aren't we? The terrain is steep and we're still in the dark, and every turn and every bend brings something more disturbing. 

I am trying to remember when I have felt more grieved and unsettled and uncertain. Am I alone in that? 

But—oh!—keep on dear ones! Don't get discouraged! No! We're not turning back! There's no reason to do so. We have every reason to forge ahead! We will get through this and be stronger because of it! Just the other day, Pastor Dave came into my office: "Rod, can you imagine the celebration we'll have when we finally gather again?"  

Goodness! That spoke deeply to me! 

Oh yes! The top of the trail! When it comes, it will be glorious. The very same thing God promises us in life, He promises now, for this brief episode of ours. Trails "arrive"; trails have their "end" and—oh!—with our marvelous Savior being the "Way"; with His wonderful Word being the "lamp" and the "light", this trail's bound to be "glory" at the top!

Keep in touch dear family. We'll help you set up those livestreams. This sanctuary is open for you 9-5 during the week and all day Sunday. You can get a key if you need to be here at other times. We can't have 'gatherings', but you can come in ones and twos, spend a moment before the cross, pray for your family, pray for our sad nation, speak with me or another pastor or elder, worship your wonderful, victorious Savior. 

I'd love to see you do that.          RAS

Message from Pastor Dave
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