Recently I had the joy of hiking a section of the Ute Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. In the vast recesses of ancient times estimated at 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, early native people sojourned this trail between the high peaks of the Continental Divide and the lower hunting areas in the valleys and plains.
In the more recent past, Ute, Arapaho, and Cheyenne bands traveled these original animal trails back and forth in their seasonal hunting expeditions. At the top of Trail Ridge Road between Deer Creek Junction and Rainbow Curve, the trailhead traverses across the tundra of alpine meadows and eventually descends into the beautiful valley of Upper Beaver Meadows on the east side of the park.
At the Ute Crossing Trailhead, elevation 11,465 feet (marked by a small car pullout and historical signage), the air that particular morning was thin, dry, and calm with very little breeze. This in itself was unusual because the wind kicks up fiercely at that altitude, frequently with spectacular bursts of thunder, lightning, drenching rain, sleet, and snow.
I looked out across the breathtaking vistas in all directions from the top of the trail and took in the glacial sculpting of the mountains surrounding me. Here, at a position so remote and elevated on the arced surface of our rotating planet, I felt I could reach up and touch heaven itself!
Before me not far from the trail, set a large rock split down the center. My first thought was of the human heart severed by grief as in the loss of a loved one such as my own brother who passed away recently.
My second thought was of the split rock in the Old Testament where Moses struck the stone in the desert and water flowed abundantly for the thirsty Israelites to drink (Exodus 17:1-7, Numbers 20:7-13).
And finally, I thought of the sheer power, the groaning birth and redistribution of land masses shaped, molded, and split by lava, glacier, and erosion.
Up ahead on the path that traversed the backbone above tree line, I walked amidst splashes of glorious color. Lavendar, blue, pink, yellow, and white petals clung to the surface of the alpine tundra in delicate clusters at my feet. I at once wondered if Nature had gifted my eyes with the beautiful spray of flowers before me that looked like a memorial to my passing brother or perhaps to the native people who had walked on from here, or perhaps to anyone familiar with loss—personal or global.
To me it seemed paradoxical that these fragile and intricate alpine plants continued to thrive exposed and vulnerable in the small blink of summer and in the majestic splendor of towering terrain and volatile weather.
My senses were overflowing with the awe of creation and a beauty so holy it took my breath away. Cradled in that utter majesty of divine wonder, I could almost hear my brother singing!
Thanks for stopping by. ♥