There are some experiences whose effects linger with you long after the fact; such was my recent trip to Glacier and Yellowstone Parks, a menagerie of what I term ‘wildscape’ experiences, the thoughts and images of which continue to play pleasantly upon my mind, heart and spirit.
Each unexpected, breathtaking scene my family and I were fortunate to come upon made me feel that I was being allowed to witness, to participate; however briefly, in something so intimate and sacred, so delicate yet so strong, so strong yet so delicate, that I found myself almost instinctively holding my breath lest I should disturb or dispel the hallowedness of what I was beholding.
A gentle doe feeding amongst the summer hillside vegetation with her two young gangly spotted fawns in tow, nearby an alert young buck, confident enough to be out of his thicket, likewise feeding pulls on tender stocks of grasses; a small herd of elk, whose color, line and form stand out with such strength & power against an already perfect landscape, that I have to look again to confirm the reality, they seem as if they could just as well have been masterfully painted into an already perfect landscape; bison up so close that when we look each other in the eye, I’m seeing an almost unimaginable gentle giant; his strength enclosed in such rich, resplendent, yet tattered hide: In each, perfection personified.
And this does not yet speak of the majesty of the landscapes themselves. Streams, some raging, many gracefully flowing, from afar and flowing still farther yet off to the horizon, here and there an expectant angler makes replete the scenes; waterfalls, cascades, wetlands, lowlands, lakes, forests, hills and peaks; beauties equaling and surpassing that of the most beautiful woman, each takes your breath away and yet, as with a beautiful woman, you wish to almost inhale such beauty and hold it inside making it part of you, yet knowing its only for a brief few moments, that you can never hold on to it solely for yourself: Yet you go away richer for it.
I find myself musing yet further. There is both my continued amusement and amazement at many of fellow beholders (all the other tourists) because to most all, this majesty and splendor, this sacredness, this hallowedness, supposedly, somehow, all created itself, or is the aftermath and result of some cosmic accident. But how could it be, how is it possible that it’s not more than that, when so many are magically drawn year in and year out to such transcendence? Does it not appeal to something higher within them? Is not this the irresistible attraction?
Indeed, to not realize the Transcendent Nature behind such natural wonders, of which they bespeak, is to lower ourselves to the level of ignorant, brute beasts. And yet I can’t even bring myself to think of animals as ignorant. They somehow seem much more attuned to the cosmic dance than we humans are: Just to watch them is to realize this.
Yet in what ignorance do those dwell who don’t have eyes, ears, heart, mind or spirit to perceive the Behind and Beyond, the Here and Now, the Eternity, the Eternal One and Only, of which all of this bespeaks?
In speaking of the creation of man the Psalm says:
For You have made him (mankind) a little lower than the angels and have crowned him with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:5)
I sometimes sarcastically think that the passage got misquoted somehow and should have read:
“For You have made him a little lower than the animals….”
But, no, humankind does that to themselves. We make ourselves on the level of some dumb animal when we plead ignorant of our destiny.
— To appreciate of such natural wonders is but human and perhaps our unconscious duty, to glory for it our destiny, to know the Glorified One, our eternity.
*numinous-supernatural; filled with a sense of the presence of divinity; appealing to the higher emotions or to the aesthetic senses.