A Mountain Creek at Wallowa Lake

We walked out the back door of our assembly room, into absolute wilderness. To the right was the clearing where we stayed in our six yurts ("cabins" to me) and we followed-the-leader, across a small stream, walking on safe planks about two feet long. Careful, I thought, because my balance is not-so-good, and I really don't want to get my feet wet in a 5-inch-deep crick. They'd laugh at my ineptness. Pretty little stream, I thought, wonder where it goes? Crooked, only a foot wide, wandering slowly along. Our trail was cut through tall grass, easy to follow and it was quite light ahead, we couldn't possibly get lost. I knew this camp had boundaries, possibly marked with wire.

Crooked trail wandered, left the crick, and we saw two tipis (you call 'em teepees) and when we went to them we naturally wanted to go in. Twice as tall as me, and later I learned 20 feet wide, our entrance to the nearest one was blocked by two deer. They watched us and just looked questioningly "Do you really want to come into our house? Best you walk around and don't bother us." So we said hello, walked around their home shelter, back to the clearing with stones in a circle for the night campfire.

We walked sometimes beside the crick, and pretty soon it was too wide to walk back across. Sometimes it was sticky and muddy, sometimes clear and rocky. But when I went back to the first planks, I stuck my hand in and it was COLD! Too icy for wading like I'd done at home in Virginia years ago, and we learned of course that it came from the mountains. Right through the Retreat Center driveway in some spots and formed a ford which cars had to cross. Impossible, as swift as it came, to divert.

Narrow at first where we crossed it, it was my life. Easy to deal with, easy as a child to see life's problems cross-able and forgettable as we left it behind like yesterday. It curved around to where somebody had placed small rocks, but the rocks were easily washed away and the small pond which might have been simply disappeared and the crick like a child's life flowed on undeterred. Pretty soon there was a large rock dam, and there was a large pond for throwing sticks in. Sticks lodged in the rocks and made the pond large. And it was deep! Would have been hard to wade it with its speedy flowing water but soon the water overcame the sticks and flowed. That's life--the unsurmountable problems may disappear, right over the rock dams that we build. And if we don't keep working, the debris will be impossible to overcome.

In the middle was a huge flat rock; some little boy could jump across the water and stand triumphant to survey the world. For a little while--but would he be able to jump across or back to survive? Or would he stand there for rescue? Or would he jump in to get all wet and muddy with his problems? And how would he affect the other kids? Would he dare them to jump, or would he caution them to be careful, or not try at all?

There were other obstacles in that crick--a wobbly log to cross, a spot where the water spread out through the grass which made a spongy marsh that would look safe but would need insulation from the wet. It had spread so far, and was still pretty swift moving that no person would walk across without extra care.

So I look back at my life. There were turns and obstacles, never predictable and not easy to correct. As the stream flows on and disappears into uncharted territory, it leaves behind a new and different environment for the world.

Just as it should be.

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