By Tina Ann Forkner
(Be sure to Mouse over the photos to see where they were taken.)
I was sitting in church on Sunday when I was struck by the power and vastness of a miraculous and supernatural God. It’s not that I had never thought of him that way before, but with my just settling down after a long bout of travel related to my book, writing and some vacation time, my mind was still full of the amazing things I had seen during my recent travels.
Some of the scenery I saw was too big and beautiful to photograph, but I was able to get some decent photos. Some of the areas I visited I was seeing for the first time, like the view while driving over Cottonwood Pass on my way home from the Crested Butte Writers Conference. A group of fellow writers had me follow them from Crested Butte until we all split apart to head to our various domains. Just before taking off, my friend Therese said she knew a short cut and said, “keep up.”
That was the beginning of a winding trip up into the mountains over Cottonwood Pass just over 12,000 feet along the Continental Divide. The picture I’ve included here doesn’t really do it justice because it was so vast in reality.
I was in my little Saturn car and the others were in range rover type vehicles as we navigated the hairpin turns. At times I was a little bit nervous, but loosened up when we had to stop for a Marmot and then for a family of deer crossing the road. We stopped and got out of our cars to take in the view just before winding, slowly, back down the mountain. My friend had promised the short cut would save us 15 minutes! Well, I lost track of time completely, partly because I was concentrating so much on staying on the narrow road and partly because I just felt so close to God’s creation during the drive.
If I remember correctly, I think it was Robert Benson who said something in his book, The Echo Within, akin to how it is sometimes easier to feel closer to Jesus than to God. Certainly he explained it so much better than I could. I suppose it seems like a strange thing to say for one who follows Christ and believes that Christ Is God, but I understood Benson’s thoughts a little better after climbing that mountain (even if it was just in a car).
When I saw the sweeping scenery of those mountains along that drive, I was overwhelmed with creation. I felt closer to God for the first time in a long time, and I hadn’t even really noticed the distance before.
Besides witnessing some spectacular scenes in Wyoming and Colorado, I enjoyed some minor experiences that, in their own way, were just as wonderful. The scenes in these photos of the children swimming and fishing are innocent and beautiful. Watching the kids play in nature simply made me feel like a child again. These are some of the same things I did when I was a girl and it renewed my spirit to do them again with a new generation. In another book I read not long ago called Last Child in the Woods, it said something about children who spend time in nature have an easier time believing in God. I agree – and maybe it works on adults too.