Monday, April 17, 2006

Could you not watch with me one night?

Our visit to Joshua Tree National Park was supposed to be a sort of desert-father-inspired Lenten pilgrimage in anticipation of Easter. I suppose it served that purpose in the end, but not exactly in the way we'd thought it would.

The first night we drove to the desert, set up camp in Black Rock Canyon, enjoyed a fire-grilled dinner, sang around the campfire, and watched the full moon rise over the hills surrounding the canyon. After everyone else had gone to bed, Mia and I and my friend Eric went midnight hiking in the hills nearby by the moonlight.

The next day we had a big breakfast and packed for a day hiking among the weird trees and enormous sci-fi-movie-set boulders the park is famous for. We decided to hike up Ryan Mountain, a 1.5 mile trail with a 1,000 foot gain. We got nearly to the top when suddenly dark clouds appeared and began blowing toward us. We started to hustle down the mountain, but got caught in the storm. Icy wind, buckets of rain, and for a short time a bit of sleet. We were drenched and freezing. In the desert. In the middle of the day. Fortunately, we had rain ponchos, which only helped a little but made Philip look like a wee hobbit.

The rain stopped within an hour or two but the wind kept blowing, and when we returned to our camp in the afternoon, our friends' awning and tent had blown some distance away and the entire site was in disarray. We took measure of our resolve, and realized that we did not relish the thought of huddling in the tent all night waiting for the wind to blow us to Oz. So we packed up, went out to eat at a nice cozy restaurant, and drove home.

I guess if we were desert fathers, and surviving in the desert was a sign of our loyalty to the faith and spiritual maturity -- a trial we had to endure in order to prove our worthiness -- then we managed to show what kind of flimsy stuff we were made of. In that, I suppose we are much like Jesus' disciples on the Mount of Olives. Sigh.

Praise God for Easter!

3 comments:

Bob K said...

It is nice to see you using the brains God gave you. Sticking it out for no good reason isn't holy - it's just wet and cold. :-)

Mary said...

I'm with Bob. Spiritual maturity includes wisdom and discernment. Sounds to me like you evidenced both of those!!

JCR said...

wimps! i type you this via laptop sitting in a 5-foot snowdrift near the arctic (or Canada, anyway), wearing nothing but sandals, shorts and a tanktop! impervious to the numbing pain in my extremities, i need nothing but my spritual...

--oh, dang. my starbucks is gone. well, that's it. screw this. i'm outta here...