Celebrating a year after our very first date, my wife and I packed up the Corolla and drove 113 miles to Mt. Baker for a weekend away. We stayed at a friend’s condo complex (thanks Rob!) which is located at the last bit of civilization before the windy road leading to the top of the peak.
Desiring to cherish this special occasion but also just get away, we got to breathe a big sigh of relief during our weekend stay. Life can be busy. Has that phrase become so obvious and cliché to say? Between working 40 hours a week, cooking many dinners at home, looking after 3 fun dogs, writing blogs and working on the house, time has been filled with many necessary and good things, but filled none the less.
We arrived late Friday night, our headlights weaving in and out of the forests and farmlands that define the landscape of the Mt. Baker area, to the condo.
Waking up the next morning, we were greeted by a pure and undefiled silence. The “Sounds of Silence” as Simon and Garfunkel sang a few decades ago I had not heard in a little while. The timing seemed perfect to go. After the area experienced a summer season in the woods and right before ski season, there did not seem to be many souls around at this particular juncture.
We walked along the Nooksack River and witnessed the cold, gray water cascading over rocks and showing off a run of white tips in the water. This was the scene all along the trail until we came upon the old log cabin (now used as a community center for the complex) and explored the structure that was originally built in the late 1800s but was rebuilt at its current site several decades ago.
We drove to Nooksack Falls and saw water barreling over the cliffs from two separate strong streams falling down hundreds of feet to the river below. As we rode to the top of Mt. Baker, we saw deserted ski lodges (for the most part) and the summit of Mt. Baker. Across from the Fir Chalet, was an idyllic lake-pond that would have cried ice-skating if it had been frozen over. Maybe in a couple of months.
Strolling around the complex, a person would bear witness to landscape dotted with pine trees, fir trees and others. Being in the middle of fall, this world was changing colors. Beyond the colored trees were mountain peaks stretching up into the air. The weather was not the greatest, we received rain for a lot of the short trip, but this cast an eerie fog that was lower than the mountains and sat hovering in the air almost like an ornament. I noticed many Stephen King novels later at the condo and one of those would have been perfect to read in this setting.
We ate a few times at Chair 9 Bar and stopped by the local liquor store to get Baileys for our hot chocolate. The time was cozy and peaceful and easy to focus.
How many writings or blogs have there been about people being out in nature and experiencing peace or a focus of the mind? That’s what I thought about on the trip. Obviously, many people seem to be able to focus better in nature and being away from civilization (in a relative sense). Is this sense of focus or calm possible to attain in the city where there is so much hurry and so much traffic and the day-to-day concerns of life?
After all, God can speak to our souls in the loudest arena or the stillest forest. Perhaps the speech is easier to hear in the forest being surrounded by His natural creation. Witnessing the old trees and the majestic mountains and the signs of life (squirrels and so forth), one is left in awe.
When a glimpse of the sky is caught, unmolested by high skyscapers, one can identify with the ancient Psalmist:
“The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4)