I sit at the edge of the amphitheater where the rangers give their nightly talks. Early in the morning I’m the only one here. The sun has just risen above the mountains, and I stare at the expanse of beauty all around me. Everywhere I look, the majestic Rocky Mountains raise their granite peaks skyward. Even in July they glisten with a heavy winter’s snow fall. High above even the highest of the nearby peaks, Long’s Peak raises its humped back 14,259 feet into the bright blue sky, the tallest mountain in the Colorado Rockies. The Eastern face of Long’s Peak looks as if it has been sheared off like a butcher slicing a large piece from a gigantic roast.
My eye travels down just below the lofty peak to a long expanse of grassy tundra still dotted with snow in its ravines. Yet farther down, another, lower pine-covered peak reaches for the morning sun. Still lower, and much closer to the amphitheater, a long, pine-covered green ridge displays a smattering of the rusty brown color caused by voracious pine beetles destroying the tall trees.
Far below that ridge and about a quarter of a mile below where I sit lays the sun-drenched Fern Valley. At 6:30 in the morning, the sun bathes the flat green valley in a soft yellow glow. This valley spans the distance between Long’s Peak, the lower mountains, and Moraine Campground where I sit. The meandering path of the Fern River cuts through this verdant valley. This summer it rushes so rapidly I can hear its scurrying from my perch high above. Heavy snow melt hastens Fern River’s current and caused it to spill out of its banks, flooding large patches of meadow.
On the near side of the river, elk, 17 of them, graze on the green valley floor. Five of them seem to have eaten their fill, for they lie in the grass, enjoying the early morning sunshine. Others step slowly and gracefully across the meadow grasses, and then lower their heads, ready for breakfast.
I watch the elk grazing for a while and then close my eyes and breathe deeply, enjoying the early morning air. Distant rushing water, the echo of a crow’s caw resounding down the valley, and nearby bird call, “chitter, chitter, chitter” are all I hear in the morning stillness.
I open my eyes and drink deeply from the cup of beauty surrounding me. I breathe in the fresh, pine-scented air. Like the early morning, I’m still….I listen….And then I hear it…the silent shouting of nature all around me. “Glorify God, creator of all heaven and earth! Praise the great I Am! Praise His glorious name!”
I bask in the beauty for a few more moments and then head to our campsite, ready for a new day.
Isaiah 55:12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.