A few weeks ago I took a trip out to Alma, Colorado, with my fiancé, parents, younger sister & one of her friends. We stayed at a little cabin in the rural mountain town, enjoying each other's company in a new location. Sometimes being bonded by the unfamiliarity of a place is what you need to be reminded of how much you appreciate one other. After spending a few days driving up and down the county road, stopping into antique stores, sauntering off onto little mountain trails to enjoy the new trees & alpine smells, India and I continued west.
We arrived in Moab, Utah, on Memorial Day Weekend. At a gas station we were told that they were anticipating 50,000 people visiting the desert city that weekend. We were also told there was no way in hell that we'd find a camping spot without having one reserved weeks in advance. Without succumbing to the stress nested in those words, we resumed our Jordan Peterson Podcast and plugged in the route to our camping spot. We passed 5 campsites on the way that were completely packed. This particular spot was 40 minutes out of the city limits, so seeing the roads congested with people hoping to score a spot was an oddity. We arrived at the camp spot we had mapped ourselves to, one that I stayed at a couple years back, around 8pm. There were already 3 cars parked there with tents pitched, but much to our surprise the site's inhabitants were packing their stuff up to leave. "Well you guys are about as lucky as you can get! We just decided to tear down to meet up with our group at a different site. Enjoy!"
After unloading our stuff, setting up camp, making some grilled hummus wraps on our camp stove & cracking open a cold one, we climbed a massive rock and looked out into the starry night. What a wonder it is to be a creature, bound by limitations, staring up into infinite with a cool, dry breeze dancing across the blistered sand stone. The Spirit of God is often described like the wind: unseen in its essence yet made undeniable through the branches It stirs. The winds of divinity, smokey with the fragrance of hope, passed through the deeper parts of us that night. With candles lit in the corridors of our hearts, we were reminded of the reality that everywhere is home when you're with the people you love.
From Moab we headed south to some BLM land outside of Canyon Lands National Park. We took a dirt road out to an irrigated portion of the canyon valley, where the trees looked like towering fingers coming up out of the ground. I'm sure they've shaded travelers from the unforgiving sun for over 100 years by now. We met a guy named Jeff who told us about how he'd been living out of his trailer there for a while now, climbing every day and paragliding now and then, too. You get far enough from civilization, and the people start becoming more and more like the characters you read about in stories. That night was the highlight of the trip for me. India and I sat by our campfire, headlamps on, each of us reading our own copy of the Chronicles of Narnia. I loved these books as a child; they imbued my world with meaning and painted the experiences I had with new flavors. Over a decade later, after a long tiring swim through the murky waters of heartbreak, loss, money, pride, doubt, nihilism, etc., Lewis's forward in the Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe felt as true for Lucy as it was for me. At what cost do our adult identities come? The journey into knowing God is often far more about un-learning than learning: peeling back the layers of false securities and vanity so that we can be transformed into children once again.
“My Dear Lucy,
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather."