Beautiful Day in the Park

I had a really nice hike today in Shenandoah National Park. I did Beagle Gap and Little Calf Mountain. As usual, I fell into a meditative state walking among the trees and on rocky ground. It really is hard to come up with the adequate words to describe my deep sense of peace when I am in the woods. I listen to all of God’s creation singing their natural song. I am part of that song; yet I find myself apart from it. It is only when I stop in my tracks and listen to the song of God do I realize my need to be totally surrounded by all of God. It is my mystery as to why I can’t let that happen. I am just a bit too independent, I suppose. I took a bunch of photos. Ideas came into my mind about the book I’m composing about the woods and what-not.

I did meet a really cool person when I was coming back down from Beagle Gap. Moxie was her name and she’s a thru-hiker of the AT. Moxie by the way is her trail name. I didn’t ask her why she chose that. I learned later from her trail journal (online) what it was about. Simplicity for sure. Trail magic. I got a chance to provide some trail magic for her as well. As I was coming down from the gap, she was coming up. I mentioned “Schönes Wetter heute, nicht?” I caught her off guard. She was not expecting German. I repeated it and translated it and we drew close and discussed the absolutely gorgeous day. She asked about a stream providing water on the way up to the gap. There was no water and when she asked I realized she was a bit under-watered. So I gave her water from my bottle and gave her two water bottles I had as extra in the car. I was worried for her and I imagine I am still worried for her. I hope she found her a good source for more water. I also felt bad because she was supposed to pick up a mail drop at Rockfish Gap Outfitters. I don’t know if that was her way of asking for a ride into Waynesboro or not. Oh well, I missed it. Also as we were talking, a couple of guys from Maryland meandered by. One was a park ranger for the state. Later Moxie mentioned that and I commented how cool it was to have a job in the woods. Moxie was wearing a medal of St. Christopher and I asked if she was Catholic, which she’s not. I told her I was going back to seminary in January and she mentioned the commitment that takes. I found that odd because here is a young lady hiking the AT, alone, talking to me about commitment. I was humbled. Truly she bore Christ in a way few of us imagine.

As I continued my walk in the woods, I pondered my desire for a mate on earth or to be celibate. It’s rough wanting to find a kindred spirit; but for me it’s rougher not doing the will of God; in whatever shenanigan fashion that might take. However, I know that if I go and see, I can at least say to myself I tried. And if I go this time and if I have learned something about myself over the last couple of years, then I should at least be able to approach my choice full of knowledge of why I feel the way I feel. But for now, even that is trail magic.

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