I will do anything for a t-shirt.
-Donate money to your cause
-Join your club
-Fill out your survey
-Walk 15 miles….
I especially like t-shirts that say I did something or was somewhere. My wardrobe is full of t-shirts from summer camps, sports teams, vacation destinations, colleges, and even a few jobs.
I just really like t-shirts.
So this spring when I hiked up 6593 feet to LeConte Lodge in the Great Smoky Mountains, I was all too excited to get my t-shirt that let the world know I had done one of the most difficult hikes in the Smokies.
The design changes each season (the lodge is only open from March till November each year) and this season’s was really cool. It has a bear with a famous Gary Snyder quote.
“Nature is not a place to Visit, it is Home.”
As you can see below… I look pretty adorable in it. Go ahead… take in the adorability of the picture below….. I’ll wait. 🙂
When I first got my t-shirt I didn’t really think much about the quote on the front. I just knew it was cute and after the hike up the mountain…I had totally earned it. It wasn’t until a few months later that the meaning of the quote finally hit home with me.
Over the past few months I have developed an obsession with being in the mountains. I love being where I feel free. No phone. No noise. No People. No worries. I had only planned on spending one or two weekends a month out hiking, but pretty soon found it being the one place I could not wait to get to by dawn each Saturday morning.
When you see this early in the morning, who wouldn’t be content?
Here I don’t have to be perfect. The creek, the rocks, the dirt, the birds, the trees, the hills, they don’t care what I look like, how I talk, how much money I have, what deadlines I have, what kind of car I drive, or what I do for a living. Here everything lives together in harmony.
More and more this became almost like a sanctuary for me… a place I could retreat and feel free to be me. A place I could come and not only feel God, but SEE Him in every rock, waterfall, mountainous view, and stream.
Nature truly is home.
A sanctuary is a small safe place in a troubling world and there is no better sanctuary then home….and Nature has become my home.
In nature I feel free and complete. I don’t have to worry about being good enough, perfect, or strong. Outside in the sanctuary God has created, I am able to cast all my fears, worries, anxieties, self doubt, frustrations, and cares aside, and I revel in the awesomeness of His power and majesty.
The creeks flowing across the rocks sound like a thunderous chorus, shouting their praise to their creator.
The wind gently blowing though the tall trees is like a gentle touch to your face from God himself…letting you know that He is there.
The utter silence as you climb higher causes you to be in tune with the sounds around you that serve as reminders that you are never alone.
Nature is not merely a place to go visit. It is a place where I can free myself of worldly drama, noise, and chaos. Here I don’t have to be something I am not. Here I don’t have to be anything.
I am simply me.
Here… I am home.