April 6th, 2009

By Neil M. Travis, Montana/Arizona

It has been said we become more reflective with the passing of time and perhaps it is because we have so much more to consider. The calendar reminds me that the earth has completed another orbit around the sun, and God has chosen to allow me to see another 365 sunrises. This world has traveled many miles since I first saw the sun those many years ago, and I have been blessed beyond measure in the things I have known and experienced.

There has been a certain serendipity to my life's journey; a journey of discovery that has directed me down many paths. I have known the love of a wife and daughter, family members and many friends. I have known the joy of great adventures, and the sorrow of deep and abiding loss. I have experienced the joy of the birth of a child, and the sharp pain that comes with the death of a loved one.

I have sat with my mother as she read to me the story of God's creation and His love for me, and I have been blessed to come to know Him. He has given me an appreciation of life that transcends mere knowledge, and He has blessed my days with much goodness.

I have stood and watched with awe as the sun rose over the ocean, and watched with wonder as it disappeared behind the distant mountains at the close of day. I have stood in a mountain meadow so alive with wild flowers and dancing butterflies that I was stunned by the beauty. I have sat on the top of a mountain and listened to nothing but the wind and felt more content than I thought was possible.

I have stood in the utter darkness high in the mountains in Montana and felt so close to the stars that it almost seemed that I could touch them. I have watched the aurora borealis pulse like the beating of my heart as it painted the midnight sky with subtle hues of mauve and pink. I have watched with wonder as meteors streaked across the heavens, and as comets stretched their tails behind them in their race around the sun.

I have held in my hand the feathered creatures that populate the sky, and ponder how it is that what appears to be so fragile a creature can fly and navigate the uncharted expanses of the heavens on its yearly journey. I have watched a hawk soar to such heights that it appeared as just a dot against the vastness of the heavens, and then plummet to earth to seize a mouse that no human eye could have detected from such a height. I have stood in utter amazement as thousands of sandhill cranes circled around me, their strange calls filling the air with an ear-filling cacophony that drowned out all other sound.

I have watched the clouds build into menacing thunder heads that dwarfed the mountain peaks as they rose to towering heights, and pushed their anvil shaped tops hard against the floor of the heavens. I have listened to the distant thunder, and watched the lightening dance across the face of the clouds and stab at the earth with swords of fierce light. I have breathed deeply the sweet smell of the earth made fresh by the rain as the storm approached, and felt the piercing cold of the first drops as the storm swept over me. I have listened to the rain dripping off the leaves, and the distant murmur of thunder as the storm moved away. I have watched the rainbow bend its colors across the sky reminding me that even the most severe storms will pass and the sun will return.

I have stood in an icy cold stream, fly rod in hand, and watched as caddis flies twirled in pirouettes, and lurking trout, frustrated by their dance, hurl themselves in wild abandon at the dancing forms. As if by magic I have watched the tiny wings of mayflies suddenly begin to appear as struggling nymphs shed their shucks to fly away and begin their ephemeral moment in the sun.

I have known great joy and deep and abiding sorrow, but through it all I have been blessed beyond measure. The spring sun reminds me that after the harsh winds of winter the warm breezes of spring will melt even the deepest drift of snow. By God's grace I have survived to see another spring and the promise of yet another summer. I have been truly blessed. ~ The Chronicler

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