Much to tell. But where to start?
The picture above is me, last week. Wandering in the wilderness.
On January 6th I rose before dawn and drove alone to Palo Duro Canyon State Park in the Texas panhandle for a few days of solitude, inventory-taking, prayer, and blessed isolation from media bombardment. I had rented one of the old stone cabins that the CCC built back in the 1930s–they hang on the rim of the canyon with a 700 foot vertical drop right outside the window.
They are very spartan–a bed, two wooden chairs, a small refigerator and microwave, and a fireplace in each of the cabin’s two rooms. No phone. No television. No internet, of course. And not even a mobile phone signal unless I walked about 100 yards to the top of a nearby hill.
But what it lacked in frills, it more that compensated me in inspiration. This was the side view from the porch.
Bible, notebook, pen, a little food and water–and I was set. I did regret failing to take my binoculars and a proper camera. I ended up having to shoot these pictures with the little one-megapixel camera in my mobile phone. But I think you can get a sense of the place . . .
I was blessed with perfect weather on this trip. Chilly 30s at night which made a fire welcome. Mid-60s during the day for walking the trails and climbing stuff. My second day there, I hiked and climbed up to a famous rock formation called, for obvious reasons, “The Lighthouse.”
Being early January, I pretty much had the park to myself. For several days the only human voice I heard was my own, in ultra-frank conversation with the gracious God who’s gotten way too small a share of my time and attention over the last couple of years. And I heard His voice, too . . . more clearly than in many, many years.
Just a few hours after my arrival on the first day, I sat at the edge of a dancing, singing stream (I later learned it was the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River), took a deep breath of crisp, clear air, looked past terracotta and salmon-striped cliffs up to an implausibly blue sky and said exactly what I was thinking:
“This is a good thing.”
And it was.