Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia. For many years I went hiking here two or three times a summer. There was a cliff called Lion's Head that we often looked for, but could never find.
One day by myself I was determined to find it. I hiked up this steep and rocky trail and was about to give up, when down the trail comes a forest ranger (I have seen only two in all my years hiking there.) I asked about Lion's Head and he told me to keep going and told me where to leave the trail.
As I left the trail and continued on a nearly pathless area, I came into a grove of pine trees. The silence was overwhelming. Pine needles on the ground, piled about three inches thick, multiplied the silence. The feeling of God's presence pressed in on me. I was content to just wander around in this sacred grove.
I saw a half-hidden opening in the bushes surrounding the grove. I made my way through and found myself on a magnificent cliff, looking down into Red Creek Canyon and across to the other hillside. The fabled Lion's Head. A different kind of silence reigned here, one that lifted my heart and expanded into God's presence. I sat on the cliff for about an hour lost in the silence.
This silence was more than a dozen years ago and is still vivid in my memory.