My husband and I have been camping and hiking in the George Washington National Forest for the past few days. The weather is perfect: warm enough during the day to swim in the lake and cool enough at night to enjoy a campfire (before they're controlled by the feds). I love getting away to the quiet of the woods where there is no internet access or cell phone service - away from all the distractions of the world. (Not too far away, though. We came into town this morning so Larry could pick up some items for camper repair and I'm taking the opportunity to post and download email.)
The gift of this trip is silence...or perhaps more accurately, silent beauty. During the day we've watched the still lake reflect back like a mirror the trees along the shore until a stiff breeze shivers the waters and replaces the still life with a glittering shimmer. A Walk in the woods exposes the colorfall autumn pallette with the golden sassafrass and scarlet dogwood the first to shed their summer colors. You don't see them much looking at the side of a mountain. Only when you enter the forest do you find yourself surrounded by color - so brilliant that an orange butterfly flitting among the branches gets lost among the leaves.
And then there is night. Sitting around the fire ring we watch the dancing flames and reflect on the wonder of nature in all its glory. How can anyone not believe when faced with the order, beauty, and wonder of God's world? Our Lady's Lamp, pure white and full, shines so brightly we don't need our flashlights. Saying our rosary and night prayers, we feel close to the Lord who made it all.