(All photos are part of this set at my Flickr account.)
This is my first opportunity to use the 4000-cubic-inch Kelty backpack they gave me for my birthday. We are always curious about how much our packs weigh, so we weigh them before leaving the house. Charles’s, as usual, comes in heaviest (25% of his body weight), then Derek’s (22%), Titus’s (20%), mine (17%), and Byron’s (13%).
After a two-hour drive we begin at the Venable Trailhead, 9000 feet elevation. By tomorrow we will gain 3000 feet more. The last time we went backpacking at “the Sangres,” it was September, and the wildflowers were already dead. This time, they are at their peak. I wonder at the plants and animals in this wilderness. All creation really does sing His praise.
Of course I know the Columbine, our state flower . . .
. . . and the Aspen, which every Coloradan knows . . .
. . . but, ignorant of birds, bugs and botany, I don’t know what anything else is called up here. I can’t identify them, so these are anonymous beauties. What are the bushes we bushwhack through? What kind of bird makes that two-tone call? Whose are those faces greeting us from the trailside (“Welcome! Welcome to the mountains!”) Are those moth caterpillars that keep greeting us from midair?
What is the name of those little trumpets heralding in unison, “The Lord is good! The Lord is good!”
I don’t know their names. I only know them by where they are; these wildflowers, this ground cover, those birds are the wonders I always see at “the Sangres”—the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
I, too, want to be known by la sangre de Cristo—the blood of Christ. I want the world to identify me by what Jesus has done for me on the cross. I want to be an anonymous beauty, made beautiful by wearing Christ’s righteousness.
If Jesus is known by His scars,
may I be known by His blood, known
by la sangre de Cristo.
Father, I ask again, may it be no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
“He must increase; I must decrease.”