November 26, 2020

There is a way through…

KY Fog Creech

Photo by Alan Creech

Here’s another picture from the Kentucky hills for our Lenten contemplation. Click on it for a larger image.

This shot was captured by our friend Alan Creech. Alan took this in Lee County, KY, just barely on the other side of the Red River Gorge.

I sometimes imagine our forbears here in North America, for whom a scene like this was common, and probably fearful. Making one’s way west through the wilderness was daunting.

When I think of how the state where I live, Indiana, as well as all of the Midwest, was essentially covered by forests just a little over 200 years ago, I stand amazed to think of those who saw beyond the trees and hills and the other obstacles of the land and envisioned that one day there might be farms and communities in those places.

Of course, we’ve destroyed a fair bit of beauty and life in the process, and therein lies reason for deep sorrow and repentance.

Nevertheless, the power and persistence of the human spirit, often motivated by faith in a God of salvation and providence, is a matter of continual wonder in this world.

There is a way through the rocks, the trees, the hills, the fog, the dim light of morning.

As your days, so is your strength (Deut. 33:25).


  1. Robert F says

    Middle of the night–
    the darkness is a forest,
    and sleep the way through.

    • Does the “F” stand for “Frost”? 🙂

      The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
      But I have promises to keep,
      And miles to go before I sleep,
      And miles to go before I sleep.

  2. Christiane says

    ” . . . we’ve destroyed a fair bit of beauty and life . . . ”

    a fair bit, yes

    • And a large number of people, too. Whom many of our forebearers did not regard as human.

      Beautiful pic, though!

      • Christiane says

        Hi NUMO,

        the strange thing is that so many Americans do actually have some native American blood if the families have been here for a number of generations . . . we seem to have not lost those native American genes entirely, and I’m glad for it . . . we are the better for it as a people . . . we are irrevocably genetically woven into our past

        and yes, the picture is stunning!

  3. “Making one’s way west through the wilderness was daunting…. Nevertheless, the power and persistence of the human spirit, often motivated by faith in a God of salvation and providence, is a matter of continual wonder in this world.”

    “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you…. So Abram went.”

    “Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

    You are right, Chaplain Mike; it is matter of continual wonder. Thanks for this and the other Lenten reflections you have offered.

  4. What good are Seven Mountains if we can’t strip mine them a little?

  5. Michael Bell says

    Joni Mitchel – Big Yellow Taxi…

    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot
    With a pink hotel, a boutique
    And a swinging hot spot
    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got
    Till it’s gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot

    They took all the trees
    And put them in a tree museum
    And they charged all the people
    A dollar and a half to see ’em
    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got
    Till it’s gone
    They paved paradise
    And they put up a parking lot

    • Rick Ro. says

      Concrete Garden
      Rick Rosenkranz (2008)

      An Arby’s has sprouted
      where evergreens once grew,
      and the nearby horizon, once filled
      with majestic emerald splendor,
      is now eerily bare.

      Costco has taken root
      atop the green grass home
      to ladybugs and bunny rabbits,
      creatures who must now search
      for another leaf, another hole,
      to raise their young, a place far away
      from my child’s adoring eyes.

      Strip malls spread like weeds
      as a city shoots its concrete tendrils
      across Earth’s beauty, choking out life,
      and asphalt is painted over lush fields,
      then lined with hundreds of yellow stripes,
      to give order to the unnatural,
      sleek BMWs and smoke-puffing
      Volkswagen vans.

      As mankind thrives, nature wilts.

    • Rick Ro. says

      And another one…

      Rick Rosenkranz (2008)

      I was on a stark walk
      through a paved parking lot
      of a strip mall filled with stores
      that sell videos and stuff for a dollar
      when the ground erupted around me
      and I trembled in fear.

      Chunks of concrete blasted upward,
      and out of the newly tilled earth
      sprang evergreens and birches,
      trees stretching their limbs
      toward the sky like slumbering giants
      awakened and angry.

      Shrubs and grass burst up around me
      like millions of soldiers in nature’s army
      here to reclaim what we’d taken
      when we planted our homes
      and block upon block
      of big box buildings.

      Vengeful foxes and coyotes
      charged out of the holes
      of secret underground tunnels,
      followed by deer and rabbits
      whose once timid eyes
      were filled with bitterness.

      Wherever nature attacked
      furious dirt swallowed up
      all things man-made;
      storefronts and sign posts
      and the beauty of what once was
      began to form around me,
      a snapshot of a forest
      untouched by human growth,
      a forest that will thrive again
      when mankind is gone.

    • The Koch bros. need to come up with the anti-Trump super-PAC money somewhere. So what if they have to strip a few mountaintops to do it? The future of Murika is at stake! Pay no mind they created the monster they are now trying to destroy. But I digress…

    • And speaking of Joni Mitchell, she says,

      “We are golden
      Caught in the devil’s bargain
      And we’ve got to get ourselves
      Back to the garden”

      and Rick’s poems speak to this pull to return to the Garden, also. Most of us, myself included, seem to find peace in natural settings as long as I’m not struggling for survival like Bear Grylls. Why then, is the coming of the kingdom of God illustrated as a city descending from above–the new Jerusalem instead of a return to the Garden? I can not think of many things less peaceful than a modern urban cityscape.

      • I love cities. The arts, restaurants (though I cannot afford them), downtown markets, the interesting architecture, people of every kind and from every place in the world. Cities are actually quite wonderful. And there are gardens in cities, too; on rooftops, in tiny little backyards, in parks. The kingdom of God is a city of the living.

        • I agree with you, Robert. There are elements of cities that I like (most of the ones you mention).

          That said, I’m with Scott. Love nature, especially the surf of an ocean. Or beside a river.

          I hope Heaven is the best of both worlds…

        • Yeah, you’re right. Cities do have an appeal; I lived in Chicago for several years and grew to really enjoy the city. I’m probably a little jaded by the traffic I encounter on my commute!

  6. I love the picture — thank Alan for it, please.

  7. Christiane says

    a beloved reflection on our heritage:
    ” . . . the end of living and the beginning of survival . . . ”