“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit”
Edward Abbey, author of Desert Solitaire.
Some years ago, I explored Death Valley National Park; a wind-swept terrain bordering the Great Desert Basin. Covering three million acres, it is one of the hottest places on earth. Yet it also possesses unparalleled majesty, made all the more intoxicating by an exquisite but at times unsettling silence.
“Silence is God’s first language,” wrote the late Catholic Priest and author, Thomas Keating, “…everything else is just poor translation.” While it would be decades before I encountered the practice of Centering Prayer, which cultivates an interiority of silence, the wilderness was my first teacher. As God’s First Testament, wild spaces find their way into the chasm of the human soul. Untethered, they speak words of silence. Yeilding to Creation itself, they pronounce peace, even when all seems lost.
Prayer: Loving God who meets us in the wild places but who also encounters us in silence, be with us in our wanderings and in our searching. So that we may discover once again the inviolable relationship between ourselves and grounded earth.