Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?
My husband, Danny, and I recently spend five glorious days in the Nantahala Mountains of North Carolina. Since we visit these mountains which abut the Great Smokies twice a year, finding a new cabin with a stunning view is becoming more challenging. This fall, it is even more so as we wait until the proverbial last minute to make reservations. Although it is larger than we need, our cabin, Cloud 8, proves to be the perfect choice.
And the view? Could we ask for anything better than this?
As perfect as the cabin is, we take advantage of clear skies to do some exploring in the Smokies. We head for Clingman's Dome, the second highest peak in the eastern United States, rising 6,643 feet above sea level, placing us a mile and a 1/4 higher than the shore line. I can tell you, my ears pop fast and furiously along our journey as our Subaru navigates the not so gradual incline and hairpin turns which distract my eyes from the scenery I could be drinking in at the moment.
Most folks who visit Clingman's Dome walk up the sinuous, paved walkway to enjoy a breathtaking view of the Smoky Mountains. In spite of this being the off-season, many tourists are doing just that.
I recall visiting the tower with my family when I was about ten. It was awesome to me then, but Danny has long know about a different trail, one which we choose to take today. It is one I haven't hiked in over eight years, and I'm agreeable only because I've conveniently forgotten how rough and rocky it is to traverse
I may look like a happy camper in this photo, but I'm anything but. I'm having difficultly getting and keeping my footholds in spite of the sturdy hiking boots I'm wearing. More than once, Danny has to give me a hands-up so my short legs can attain the next ledge. I'm growing weary of painstakingly picking my way along the rugged path, and I'm uncharacteristically short of breath, probably because we are hiking at a more than mile-high elevation. It's only a half-mile walk, yet I feel as thought I've attempted a marathon.
Danny offers encouragement. "You can do this. When you get to the top, the view will be worth every step you've taken."
"I sure hope you're right," I grunt, not wanting to go one more step forward, but for Danny's sake and his excitement about seeing the ridge once again, I press on.
As we approach the ridge top at long last, we hear the wind sighing through the bent and stunted trees growing there. Knowing we're almost there infuses me with an unexpected surge of energy. I clamber up after Danny as quickly as I can, and when I reach the summit, this is what meets my eyes.
The clouds hang poised . . .
We have ascended from Cloud 8 to Cloud 9.
And, we are rendered speechless before the wondrous majesty of God.
When have you been awed by God's magnificent creation?
Father, Your world reveals the mighty works of Your hands. We thank You for the glory which is Your creation. May we live in awe of Your wonders each and every day. In Jesus' name, amen.