The weather was fantastic as I traveled down the Gallatin Canyon from West Yellowstone to Bozeman, MT yesterday. A fresh blanket of snow left a pristine impression on the landscape.
Smoke? Clouds? Fog? Well, none of these. The wind was just picking up after fresh snow fell overnight, blowing the snow off the pine needles and creating a drift of snow smoke.
But the day wasn’t nearly as grey as the photo above depicts. The sky was a brilliant blue, with scattered clouds to prevent monotony!
As you look outside on a snowy day and admire the beauty of the landscape, you may recall that no two snowflakes have ever been found to be alike. Yet each individual snowflake is only a minute drop of frozen water as it falls to earth. However, many snowflakes together cover the ground and can change the course of things and persons. When you do your best, and join that best with the efforts of other Christians, you will be amazed at what God can do with your combined “bests.”—Author Unknown
Does doing the same thing two years in a row constitute a tradition? If so, I just returned from my “traditional” April trip to Arizona. Last year I spent most of my tourist-time in and around Phoenix, exploring several areas in search of photo ops. My bride, Alesia, joined me on this year’s trip, flying into Mesa, AZ, where I picked her up for a touring road-trip back to Montana. Near the top of our to-do list was a visit to Grand Canyon National Park. She vaguely remembers seeing it as a child and I had never seen it, so we were both anxiously looking forward to taking in the majesty of this geographical marvel. However, that tradition thing got in the way at this point. You see, last year heavy rain and cold weather joined me on my trip south, creating some obvious challenges to wildlife and nature photography. This year was similar, but worse, as snow decided to join us, as well! How bad was it? Maybe this image will give you a hint…
Living in the north-country, we don’t scare easily from a little snowfall. However, traveling through snow and sightseeing in snow are two entirely different things! We made our way to the edge of the canyon near Yavapai Point, and with great expectation we walked to the edge to view this amazing site…
As you might imagine, we were certainly hoping to see something more amazing! After all, that first scene doesn’t look markedly different than many of our winter landscapes at home. Having only that day to spend at the Grand Canyon, we determined to wait out the storm, hoping the weather would break and afford us better viewing opportunities. We wandered around that area for a couple hours, and the snow did let up for a short while. A couple elk were meandering through the area, following the Grand Canyon Railway through the tourist village.
Despite the relief from falling snow, the canyon remained heavily cloud-filled, only offering brief and murky glimpses of what lay below. Eventually we decided to move on, following the South Rim upstream as we traveled eastward. Intermittent snow continued through the day, but now and then, for brief interludes, the clouds would break and blue sky and sunshine shone through. Fortunately we were able to stop at a couple of the canyon overlooks when the conditions provided a better view of the canyon.
Although we were unable to clearly see the Grand Canyon, we are sure of it’s existence. We’ve seen the evidence and heard the stories from competent witnesses. Drawing a parallel to the Creator, we know He exists because of the evidence of His creation. No, we don’t see Him as a physical being, in fact the Scripture tells us that, “Clouds and darkness surround Him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne” (Psalms 97:2). Denying the existence of God simply because we can’t see Him is not a sound argument, because there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I freely admit that faith is a requirement of a Christian worldview, but it actually takes a lot more faith (and really blind faith) to believe in many of the prominent creation theories that modern day science has proposed. While the Grand Canyon is really a magnificent place, it pales in comparison to many other marvels of creation. Each of us needs to consider the evidence and determine for ourselves if God exists, but choose wisely, because our eternal well-being is at stake! “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
- Grand Canyon (farfromhomeschooled.wordpress.com)
- Creationist’s Prediction #4 (creationscience4kids.com)
At least briefly, more typical winter weather has returned to the northwest US. Driving home from Seattle, WA, I didn’t find very many photographic opportunities good enough to make me want to brave the elements. However, I did take a short detour to see if the resident Bighorn Sheep at Bonner, Montana were active, and sure enough, there were a few out braving the snow. The ongoing snow and the distance between me and sheep prevented getting super clear images, but that was the reality of the day! There were three rams traveling through at least a foot of snow as they traversed the steep side of the mountain adjacent to the Blackfoot River.
- This ram is no sham (onelookout.com)
With all the wind we’ve been having here in the north country, it is a good thing our snowfall is well below normal. The combination of normal snowfall and the winds of recent weeks would have resulted in spectacular drifting, which I am happy to not experience! Late yesterday afteroon I was on the outskirts of Billings and the wind was doing a pretty good job of keeping things stirred up in the valley. As I was driving in a westerly direction, I looked to the southwest of the Yellowstone Valley and saw that the wind was whipping up a lot of snow over the top of the Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains. I felt the wind was a little too nasty to set up my tripod, so I hand-held the camera to get several exposures to merge for an HDR capture. As I was essentially shooting into the setting sun, an HDR composition allowed me to get an image that is close to what the scene actually looked like.
Like the wind, the presence of the Holy Spirit is invisible. A person cannot see it move or work. However, one can see the effect of what the Spirit does. One can see how it acts on things—just as the wind stirs up the settled snow. One cannot see the wind, but everyone has seen how it makes tree leaves and the branches sway or dust kick up from a dirt road. Often we see the impact of the wind, but not the wind itself. It is the same with the Spirit. The Spirit moves, and we then see the impact in people’s lives. People act and a work gets done. What we see is not the Spirit itself, but the Spirit’s fruit.
“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8
- Enjoy the Beauty of God’s Creation.. (snowwhitedove.wordpress.com)
Canada Geese have been on their northward migration for several weeks, and can be spotted in fields and along rivers and streams as they rest and feed on their journey. Sandhill Cranes are starting to take up residence in the meadows along the Musselshell River. Robins and Mountain Bluebirds have returned, but are reluctant to spend much time up here on top of the Bull Mountains until our near daily ritual of snowfall finally comes to an end. The calendar says Spring began a week ago, and many of the Creator’s indicators seem to agree. I took a detour along the way home today and found the Meadow Larks and Horned Larks have returned to their posts, albeit a little slow on this snowy day. While the snowy weather tries to argue that winter hasn’t left, the everpresent mud begs to differ!