• Rich Handley


The wind's roaring chorus in the pines reminds me of David seeking the Lord's counsel on whether to attack the enemy. That heavenly rumble was his assurance that the angel armies were with him.

I spent 9 summers in the eastern Sierra and sometimes wondered if the angel armies were with me. The mountain's siren song captured me at a young age and wouldn't let me go. But finally, I sensed when it was time to make an escape.

I may have thought I escaped but these mountains never really let you go. And now I'm back where I started 50 years ago. The pine sap still smells as sweet, the high snowy peaks are just as daunting and the persistent wind and rushing water are mesmerizing.

I've come to spend two days in solitude. I wish I could say that two days of solitude is like honey balm for the soul. But I know better. I get restless and antsy. I don't sleep well on the ground and I'm tempted to look at my watch too often.

But by the second day, I'm encountering ultimate relaxation. I may not move for hours. My senses are sharpened and the only thing piercing my brain is the plaintive calls of the stellar jay and raven.

This place hasn't changed much. There are the glaciated boulders along the river, the meandering trail that John Muir himself may have cut, and the bone-chilling San Joaquin, too frigid for more than a moment's dip.

John Muir probably told us to seek the solitude of the mountains. If he didn't I'm saying it now.

"As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the LORD has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army." Samuel 5: 24

"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there." Psalm 139: 7-8

Love and blessings,

Rich H


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