Thoughts Along the Trail

So many sounds rush to one’s ears while walking the AT: the sound of your heart beating to keep up with your steps, the wind dancing through the trees, and the plod, plod of your feet on the rocks and leaves and mud are a few of them. You’ll hear a rustle to your left and it’s a chipmunk dashing for the safety of a hole under a fallen tree. Several successive splashes of the forest floor reveal a deer you walked up on cruising to a safer distance. There’s the occasional squirrel – you have to really be tuned in for this one – tip-toeing across logs and branches as it sneaks around.

And the birds: Many songs and styles that run the gamut of classical to country to pop…maybe even to gospel! One of those days as I was treated to all of this, I noticed something particular about the birds: Some days you’ll hear more singing than others. Note that this observation may or may not be scientifically based, but its impact on me is none the less huge! On the really blustery, rainy, cold, weather-in-your-face days, the songs are few, if any. Oh, you’ll see the birds scratching leaves and dirt liooking for an unsuspecting insect or seed of some sort. They’re usually “hunkered down” and all puffed up – fluffed up – against the elements. The countenance of their faces seem to me to reflect a sort of seriousness and focus on getting the basics of life done. Again, very little, if any singing – just the basics.

But, oh boy, when they detect the weather changing – and when it chages – the symphony and chorus of songs fill the forest! So much so even, that all of the other sounds can be lost or seem to flee to the backgrond: The songs are bright and varied and run all over each other. It’s a joyful combination of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Carnegie Hall and all of the performers at the Grammy’s – all rehearsing at the same time!

So what’s so particular about all of this? As I’ve walked on the same days with the same weather as they have experienced, a simple fact flies in my face: their song is always in them. Oh, yes, some days, they don’t sing as  much – if at all – becuase of the conditions and what they must focus on. Life is life to all of God’s creatures. But for them, conditions change, life changes – the sun in all of its glory shines one day, one morn. And their song rises to the top and they cut loose with their songs and do what they do with the voices that God gave them.

God put a song in all of us, too. There are those cold, blustery days when we don’t feel like singing; like those when we – where I – am mourning the loss of Rebecca and the dreams that died with her; they are real and “hunkering down” is all you – or I – can do. But there is a song…somewhere.

Trusting God that things will change – that the sun and all of its glory will shine one day – this may be a lesson you and I can learn from the birds. I think Rebecca had all of this figured out. Her song – yours and mine, too – isn’t gone because of the conitions life deals us.

I’m writing this on Easter week-end. Saturday. As she knew, and as you and I are to be reminded of tomorrow, the Son and all of His glry shines one day – again – one morning.

That song, that sound beats them all. Our songs are meant to be a part of that chorus. Rebecca, you and me; we’re all part of the chorus.

Sing. You and I need to find our song. He’s earned it.

Jeff (Steadfast)


About jeffsimpsonhiker

Through-hiking the Appalachian Trail to raise money for Leukemia-Lymphoma Society, St Baldrick's and Make-A-Wish Foundation.
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One Response to Thoughts Along the Trail

  1. Danny Chappell says:

    Very well put! Can’t wait to get with you when you get back.

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