Of What Has Been…

How do we wear the events of our lives? What sculpts the contours of who we become? What colors us?

These are questions of wonder and hopefully questions that inspire introspection.

Glacier Gorge Rocky Mountain National Park courtesy of John Homan

I look south to the jagged silhouette of the serrated mountain edge of Glacier Gorge in Rocky Mountain National Park. Fifteen thousand years ago these peaks formed from an immense valley of ice that carved and clawed its way through the earth. Now glorious granite peaks etch the skyline in awe-inspiring grandeur. From my view, the sides of these mountains (Storm Peak, Longs Peak, Pagoda Mountain, Chief’s Head) also descend in a graceful sweep in perfect unison to the valley floor below. I am looking at the results of immense upheaval in the earth’s geology and what I see before me now is sheer beauty. Something spectacular reaches to the heavens after intense turmoil.

And this?

What may look like old elephant skin or a sentinel’s composite armor is nothing less than the weathered bark of an ancient limber pine. And yes, it just may be the elephant in the room (or forest) as it stands sentinel in all its organic glory before the waters of Lake Haiyaha, approximately 2 miles from the start of the Bear Lake Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park.

This ancient, twisted, sprawling white pine known as Old Gnarly to some, dates back more than a thousand years. As soon as I maneuver over the massive boulder field before the lake, my eyes catch a glimpse of this magnificent tree and I immediately sense something akin to wisdom in the story of its wood. I sit upon the reach of its massive limb on a granite boulder overlooking the turquoise water and celebrate its survival through the years of intense weather.

Lake Haiyaha RMNP Courtesy of John Homan

And the lake hasn’t always been the milky blue-green color of today. A debris slide roared through Upper Chaos Canyon and transformed the color of the water with tons of silt and clay known as rock flour last year. That ever-so-fine rock flour is suspended in the water and reflects blue and green wavelengths back to our human eyes. The catastrophic unearthing of the side of the mountain has literally changed the hue of Lake Haiyaha. And yet, it is still a wonder of beauty.

I look around and hope to garner resilience in the face of whatever difficulty may come my way. Nature has a way of showing the strength and beauty of creation when things get tough.

Thanks for stopping by.