Near our home is an odd rock outcropping from which sprouts an old, dead Ponderosa Pine tree trunk. The trunk has been weathering away for many years, and the Lord only knows how many years ago that old tree first sprouted. There were most likely many tough years that challenged the tree’s survival, as this is country prone to drought and harsh weather. To make matters worse, our soil is very shallow and the tree essentially set root in solid sandstone! Oftentimes I’ve wondered about the things that sentinel has witnessed over the years, from the days when Indians hunted buffalo here on the bluffs, and while Texas steers grazed through these highlands of the Musselshell River Valley, and eventually the arrival of fences, tractors, roads and homes. Oh, the things that sentinel must have seen!
I photographed that old tree yesterday, knowing only the outline of the story that would accompany it; a story of the past, leading to the present, offering hope for the future. The more I studied that photo, it seemed to beg for a poem. Unfortunately, I am not a poet by any stretch of the imagination. A quick search engine query brought me to a poem on another blog, CHRISTian poetry. Deborah Ann Belka’s poem, ‘Oh, the things I’ve seen,’ was the perfect complement to the image, as is the Scripture she tied to the poem, from Isaiah 40:8 – “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”
In the midst of extensive travel last week, my daughter, Leah, and I made a detour to Zion National Park in southern Utah. Being our first-ever visit to the park, we didn’t really know what we would see in the course of our short excursion. Snow fell the night before, and the sky remained very cloudy. While shooting conditions were not great, through the magic of HDR technology, the images actually came out fairly well. Our first stop was the Kolob Canyon area. (As always, click on individual pictures to see a larger image.)
The conditions at the Kolob area were a little too muddy and snow covered to consider taking a hike, so we continued on to the interior of the park and drove to the parking lot at the base of the Temple of Sinawava. From there, we hiked the Riverside Trail up to the Narrows of the Virgin River. Along the way a portion of the cliff adjacent to the trail broke loose, but Leah cheated death by holding off the massive rock!
When the weather improves and I have a little more time, a return trip to Zion National Park will definitely be on my “to do” list. The rock formations and brilliant shades of red are truly amazing. After returning from this trip, I looked up the meaning and history of the word, Zion. Originally it was simply the name of a specific mountain near Jerusalem, Mount Zion, but subsequently it was used as a Biblical metonym for Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem, the city of Jerusalem, and for the world to come in God’s Kingdom. Isaiah 28:16 states, Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.” This foundation refers to God’s promises as manifest in His written word and in His son, Christ Jesus. He is a foundation of God’s laying; a tried stone, a trying stone, a touch-stone, that shall distinguish between true and counterfeit (Matthew Henry Unabridged).