In Celtic spirituality, there is the “Little Book” of scripture and the “Big Book” of creation. Fred and I have been sleeping and waking in the Big Book for twelve wonder-filled days. I am reminded, as I was on the west coast of Vancouver Island this spring, that “In God, we live and move and have our being.” I don’t need to find God; I’m already in God.
Of course, that is true every day everywhere. But here, in the mountains, painted with wildflowers, cascading streams and glacial peaks, God generously displays Her beauty. She asks me only to enjoy Her.
As I wrote that last sentence, I felt a “yes” in my body, the way I do when I’m in a spiritual direction, and I say something aloud that my body resonates with. That warm spacious feeling tells me, “This is something you need to hear.”
I ponder our time in Yoho, Banff and Glacier National Parks and recall what has brought me joy. Top of the list were the vistas from the trails Fred and I hiked, soaking in the Upper Hot Springs and visiting the Whyte Museum, but there were other moments as well. That first cup of coffee when I’m bundled up and can see my breath. Eating the lunch we packed on the Dolomite Ridge above Helen Lake as it snowed. Finding block ice in Nester’s Market and chatting with Sidney from Ontario while she filled our propane tank.
I marvel at the many ways people travel. A fellow from Quebec who sleeps comfortably in his car couldn’t get over the myriad of paintbrush flowers. Two young guys from Israel enjoyed a game of backgammon by their van which had a plumbing pipe on their roof for hot showers. An all-out couple with a tent on the roof of their camper, a shower stall, a canopy over their picnic table, and a truck with their toys camped next to the bike-packers who fit all they needed into a few small water-proof bags. Taking a stroll around our campground at night, we felt like we belonged. Yet, so do all the people in the Hot Springs. The family who spoke German, the woman wearing a hijab, and the young couple planning to cycle the Gran Fondo from Vancouver to Whistler who don’t like camping at all—they are all in the Big Book of God’s wonderful creation.
I loved being outdoors 24/7 but my quiet times in the morning got displaced by the need to get parking at a trailhead or get packed up and on the road. My prayers were distracted thoughts along the trail, and the Little Book was never opened.
I asked God, “What do you want me to hear?”
I heard, “You are allowed to enjoy yourself.”
There, I felt it again–then as I heard those words at the time and now as I write–that beautiful “yes.” from God.
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I am grateful for the love mischief of Ben and Lisa, park wardens at Illecillewaet campground in Glacier. They went out of their way to find us a campsite after all the sites were snapped up. I heard similar stories from others as well.