A few years ago I lived in Leavenworth, WA for a summer while working with Leavenworth Summer Theatre. It was a great summer of music making and tons of hiking. As a Pacific Northwest boy I have always found the beauty of nature profoundly inspiring and have struggled emotionally and spiritually during the times when I lived away from the lush green and magnificent mountains of Western Washington.
Stuart Lake was one of my earlier hikes during the summer. The trail had been beautiful the whole way, but when I came around this corner it felt like walking into a wall of glory. It stopped me in my tracks, brought tears to my eyes and nearly made me fall to my knees. I don’t know why in that moment I was given a glimpse of heaven, of the perfection we were made for, but it has stuck with me for approximately a decade. It wasn’t the beauty of nature that was profound, although it is a beautiful spot, it was the experience of having the veil between this life and the next being parted for a moment, to see what the world is meant to be. It’s not nature that is overwhelmingly beautiful, it is the intangible something more that we all long for and sense in different aspects of our lives at different times. For some it is the dessert, for some a single cell through a microscope, but for me, lush forest and mountains haul back and slaps me in the face with a glimpse of glory and I am profoundly thankful.