Archive for January, 2010


// January 21st, 2010 // No Comments » // Other

Contrary to current popular belief, hope is not a word invented by President Obama. It is a word that should actually make us feel better and long for something better. It should instill in us a desire to never want to give up. Hope is fragile and easy to lose. Today while out on a hike with my camera I took a long exposure of some ice formed over a moving stream. This makes the ice stand out against the motion of the water. I moved on and saw a hawk rapidly approaching, flying low, and directly towards me. I lifted my camera and fired a number of shots. In a blink he was gone.

Wow! I hoped I had got one good shot. I looked at my digital viewfinder only to see blurry images. I had forgotten to reset my shutter speed and now all I got was…an angel? I continued towards the car at least happy I had seen such a beautiful creature resetting my camera as I walked yet still disappointed I had missed my shot. I had given up hope. Gliding out of the trees ahead the same hawk approached, this time I was ready, aimed, fired. He flew across my field of view and then upwards towards a second hawk – it was a rare and beautiful site. The two played in the air and I got more and better shots because I waited and was ready. This is how hope is. When we think it is gone and that opportunity has passed us by, we need to hold on, get ready, use the past as a stepping stone and prepare for what God has in store for us down the road. The result of having hope may be better than what we could have imagined or better than what we were disappointed in missing the first time.

Points of Reference

// January 6th, 2010 // No Comments » // Climbing, Other

When skiing up the local resort the other night with the aid of my climbing skins affixed to the bottom of my skis, I could not help but feel as though I was barely moving. It seemed no matter how fast my legs moved or how hard I was breathing, the top of the mountain was getting no closer. It was a dark night with visibility made more difficult by the snow which was falling and the thick clouds which had settled in over the mountains. Normally with a little moonlight or the lights from town hitting the white hillside I have enough light by which to ascend. Typically I will use a headlamp not so that I may see, but so that others may see me thereby avoiding a collision with sledders, other skiers or snowmobiles. I figured I would keep my light off, my music off and just ascend by feel and by sound, keeping an ear out for any engine noise or schussing sounds. In the dark of night all was quiet as I felt myself move upwardly through what felt like an open abyss, or like being adrift in an open sea, maybe even floating in space. What I soon realized is that I had nothing to use as a gauge for speed or distance travelled. No trees at the side of the run, no sounds of activity passing by, no grasses brushing my shin to give me the sensation of movement – I could have been on a treadmill for all I knew. Then in the distance I saw a light. It was the small glow of some other party’s headlamp. Though it appeared dim and distant I now had something to focus my attention on and strive towards. I reoriented my skis to regain the correct trajectory (assuming that they were on the same run as I was) and kept going with the fresh vigor of someone with purpose and direction. The light would momentarily disappear when they would roll over a knoll or bend down to fiddle with their equipment, but I kept my bearing on them and soon saw the light getting brighter. After a while I could even make out the shape of two figures walking up, and after another hundred strides as I passed them by could see that hey were ascending sans skis or snowshoes. Cresting the last pitch of this run I could now see the light emitted by the lifthouse at the top and make out what would be my stopping point. And just as I deskinned, goggled up, and prepared for my descent two snowcats came cruising by blazing a smooth path of corduroy for me to follow all the way down. It became my point of reference. I knew that as long as the snow underfoot was smooth I would be fine, but the moment it became rough I would need to slow down so as not to hit the broadside of a Mogul in the dark.
On skis and in life we need anchors, we need to tie off “to the rock that is higher than I”, we need points of reference that let us know we are on track. Maybe in the daylight it is the trees deeply rooted on the side of a trail, but what do we use when the going gets tough and the fog sets in? For me it becomes the people around me who are solid in character and in faith, it is scripture in its truth and wisdom, it is God’s sovereignty over my life.

The next day I had the chance to climb the Baldspot above Beaver Creek resort in storm conditions. Along with two friends though it was now daylight I was having the same experience where I could not distinguish slope from sky. This can make for treacherous skiing especially if alone, but if we stay close enough we can use each other as buoys yo yo-ing down the mountain on our bearing using each other as points of reference.

In relationships, in our job, what acts as that to keep us in check? Honest communication exhorting each other and building each other up. Emotions, while not always reliable can serve as a gauge. Joy – is there any in your journey? But mostly, what is the light up ahead that you are oriented towards? I am the light of the world – Jesus said.