When scientists are collecting data on other planets, one of the factors they are most interested in is the presence of water. Where water is present, the potential for life is also present. This truth is also especially evident in a desert landscape.
On a cool and breezy spring day we visited the W. E. Kirch Wildlife Management Area, which is comprised of small lakes and marshes. It is a pleasant oasis surrounded by miles of dry sagebrush desert and it was teeming with life.
We saw hawks, cranes, geese, ducks, and many other smaller birds that are harder to identify. On the drive into the park we even witnessed a coyote darting through a maze of sagebrush. My favorite moments, though, were spent watching a hawk expertly gliding through the wind, swooping low and high looking for a meal.
Animals will travel vast distances to reach sources of water because they know it’s life- giving power. It is no wonder that water imagery and metaphors are used numerous times throughout the Bible. Life can feel very akin to wandering through the desert, but it is not just our mouths that get dry- our souls also become parched. Disappointments and just the daily grind wear us down and there is nothing on this planet that will fully satisfy us. Water is essential for our earthly existence, but we need Jesus for eternal life. Being in nature and watching animals thrive near cool, clear water is a beautiful reminder of how our souls should be ever longing for Jesus and our heavenly home.
John 4: 13- 14
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Historically, great time and expense were spent in constructing cathedrals, with the purpose of bringing glory and honor to God. While attempting to reflect God’s magnificence, intricate artwork and architecture were painstakingly created over hundreds of years.
We recently visited a cathedral of a different sort. It was created by volcanic explosions and erosion over the course of millions of years, but the end result was the same- viewing it nudged our minds, hearts, and souls upward toward God (and in my opinion, even more effectively than any man- made structure could).
As we hiked through Cathedral Gorge State Park, we were entranced by the endless spires, cliffs, and caves. The trail began with a network of steep stairs descending into the canyon. Once on the canyon floor, the path was level and every couple steps brought us a new rock formation to admire or an alcove to explore. It was a beautiful sunny and breezy day, with warmer- than- average spring weather. Roland happily split his time between running through the desert canyon and stopping to play with the rocks and sand (what more does a little boy need?).
Experiencing such a unique landscape truly reminds me of the extraordinary workmanship of God. What we see today has taken millions of years to accomplish, and it is still a work in progress. The natural world is a gift to us from the Divine Creator and it is filled with opulent variety. It is humbling that these exquisite places were created for us to use and enjoy, and I am forever grateful.
Job 38:4-7, 25-27
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm,
26 to water a land where no one lives,
an uninhabited desert,
27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland
and make it sprout with grass?”
As we made our six day drive from Minnesota to Nevada we saw some awesome landscapes. We were itching to get out and explore each state we drove through, but this was not a pleasure trip; it was a move with time and financial constraints. We contented ourselves with making mental notes of places to go back and visit while we continued our journey into the Southwest. When we finally arrived in Ely we had some unexpected stresses we had to deal with, but we made sure to set aside a day to get out and explore our new territory before Matt had to start work.
Nevada means “snow covered” in Spanish and the state is aptly named. We are surrounded by snowy peaks in every direction. After spending the past 11 months in the flat forests of Minnesota, I am soaking up every ounce of awe- inspiring scenery (and I don’t get very far without having to stop to take another picture).
Our first Nevada outing was at Cave Lake State Park, just a 30 minute drive from Ely. At an elevation of 7,000 feet, the trail was a mix of dry sand, mud, and deep snow. It was slow going, but that just gave us more time to enjoy the mountains, rock formations, and rolling sagebrush desert (and glorious sunshine!).
It was a beautiful introduction to Nevada and I am eager to explore all the nooks and crannies of this intriguing state.
Home means Nevada (Nevada’s State Song)
Written & Music by Bertha Raffetto
Way out in the land of the setting sun,
Where the wind blows wild and free,
There’s a lovely spot, just the only one
That means home sweet home to me.
If you follow the old Kit Carson trail,
Until desert meets the hills,
Oh you certainly will agree with me,
It’s the place of a thousand thrills.