Cedar logs crackle in the stone fireplace as their unmistakable scent wafts throughout the cabin. Firelight shadows dance on the ceiling and walls. Human voices speak softly concerning loved ones and matters of mutual concern. Somewhere outside, a pack of coyotes howl at the moon. We step onto the front deck and gaze upward. Millions of stars bespeckle the heavens, bearing silent witness to the Creator’s power and presence. From the distance comes the wind’s soft whisper, increasing in volume as it crosses the mountain forests of majestic Douglas firs and blue spruce, limber pines and wispy willows. Aspen leaves, already turning yellow and orange, shimmer in the night breeze under the starlit sky.
We are enjoying a weekend with Rich and Lee Johnson, stepfather and mother of our daughter-in-law Kristy, at their family’s property located some 10,000 feet toward heaven and a few miles from Colorado’s famed Pike’s Peak. It is a welcomed and needed getaway for Sara Faye and me — not least because it provides a brief respite from Houston during August’s scorching end.
Next morning, the birds and small forest creatures approach the cabin for now-familiar handouts. Stellar’s jays pace cautiously, their royal blue feathers shining lustrous and iridescent in the sunlight. Other species are bolder: sparrow-like juncos, Canada jays and Clark’s nutcrackers calmly eat their fill. A tiny hummingbird flits to its feeder for a nectar dessert. Suddenly a redtail hawk appears and circles overhead. A jay sounds the warning and the feeding birds scatter. The vulnerable ground creatures — chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits — scurry hastily for cover.
After lunch we hike a quarter-mile up the mountain, stepping in turn over a carpet of moss, a padding of natural mulch, lichen-covered stones and a crunchy forest floor of fallen twigs. Close by, a woodpecker hammers vigorously. We approach him slowly to observe in silence, finally standing no more than six feet away. We move beyond the trees to a sunny meadow, lavishly decorated with a spectrum of native flowers. There are purple fleabane, white yarrow, golden aster, blue harebell, maroon wild strawberries and grayish-green wild sage. The Almighty is also the Master Artist! Day passes into evening, evening to night, night to a fresh new day.
Sunday morning dawns and we give thanks for a bountiful breakfast that includes melon and berries, sausage and eggs, toast and jams. After breakfast, we move outside to a table on the deck, sweater-comfortable on this crisp September morning high in the Rockies. We read in turn our favorite Scripture portions — Rich and Lee, Sara Faye and me. Then we share communion in bread and wine, giving thanks to the Father for Jesus our Savior and for his atoning sacrifice. A snowshoe rabbit observes our devotional, as does a chickaree squirrel. Below us in the meadow a mule deer doe munches on God’s provision for her, while we eat by faith the living bread that came down from heaven. Soon it is time to exchange hugs and goodbyes. It has truly been a Rocky Mountain high for body and spirit alike.