Chapter 23 - "God's playground"

Our first stop as we headed into the rocky crags was an lookout site that overlooked an elk reserve. We perched up on that knoll for about 20 minutes looking for those colossal creatures. The closest we got to a visual was a distant sighting through binoculars. They were herded on the side of a mountain grazing on the sprouting spring grass. With that, we hopped into the truck and made our way toward the gorge.

On our way we were passing deer like they were swamp mosquitoes; they were everywhere you turned. Crossing in front of us, playing in the cedars, drinking from mountain streams, grouping up in open fields, it was insane. I’m sorry to admit that by the time we got into the mountains, I was all but immune to their existence. Like rats in the Big Apple or dung beetles on a dairy farm. They would about feed out of your hand.

It took about 30 more minutes before we actually pulled up along side the actual mountain range. It’s hard to put into words how gargantuan the Rockies really are. They are different that any eastern mountain ranges like the Pocono’s or the Adirondack’s or the Smokey’s. Put it this way, it’s the difference between catching a sunfish in a pond and hooking into a King Salmon on a Great Lake. It’s the difference between writing loves notes in Kindergarten and exchanging your first French kiss with a woman. You can’t compare the two. And sitting in their towering shadow, I felt infinitesimal. Their immense beauty swallowed me whole.

We slowed down as the road became narrow, almost one way. There were old cabins frozen still after a long winter’s hibernation. It was still early enough that tourists and locals had not begun to visit this location which can only be described as enchanting. We had it all to ourselves. Streams were rushing with melted ice from the peaks. Evergreens were sending off a pungent aroma. The Sun River was glowing aqua green…almost as if someone had pumped green dye into it and shined underwater spotlights up through it from the rocky bottom. It was just like the pictures in National Geographic. Only so much more expansive and magical.

We came to a stop at the river’s edge and decided to park off to the side of the road and hike up to the base of the dam. Water was shooting out from the bottom of the thick cement wall holding back a reservoir of melted snow. I imagine the pressure of the water shooting out would kill you should you drop your 175 frame in front of it. It made a fire hydrant look like a man with weak stream difficulty. It was as forceful as I’ve ever seen water shooting sideways. It didn’t start bending downward until after about 40 feet. Hydro-power is spectacular up close.

We climbed across rocks toward the man-made barrier exploring like little boys in a ditch looking for frogs. Deer were our playmates. God was the consummate playmate, though. He was smiling and laughing. I could hear him in my head. I could see him with my heart. I could feel him with my soul. There is nothing like playing with God in the wild wonders of His creation. He’s in His element. I’m on His turf. His sweet spot. His comfort zone. His skill set. His bread and butter.

And I was loving every minute of it. Have you ever been to God’s playground?


~raises hand~ Pertaining to the last sentence of this post: I have.
There was a small field behind the first church I ever went to and I ever remember attending. It consisted of tall grass that hurt any skin that was exposed when you ran past it, flowers with scents that made most adults wrinkle their noses, and all sorts of grasshoppers, toads, lady bugs, garter snakes, worms, and other things that made most girls skin crawl... but not mine. I remember the inexpressible joy I felt every time I was back there. I was in a different world with no time, with no worries... I was in my own sliver of heaven and no one could take it away from me. Then I moved away...
Now I try to find little bits of God's playground wherever I go... slivers of heaven that God gives us, proof that he will never tire of the wonder and uninhibited joy such places can bring.
I think I will enjoy reading this. Keep writing.
CJ Namenye

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