I find it easy to wake up early when my circadian rhythm is in Pennsylvania while my body is in Arizona. Thus, I was awake by 4:00 am this morning. That’s early for me even by my standards back home on Eastern Standard Time. I’ve journey Westward to the state of my birth and the source of my complex spirituality. The Southwest is home for my wandering mortality.
I am joyous to be in Arizona as I will be spending time with beloved friends and family in the Phoenix area over the weekend and early next week. For now though, I’ve sojourned to the cool pines and aspens of Prescott. This Yavapai region is becoming one of my most favorite places on Earth. I first came here as a young boy. More recently, I’ve visited Prescott to participate in a variety of camps, retreats, and conferences at The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona’s Chapel Rock Camp and Conference Center. I am very fond of Chapel Rock. It nourishes my being. Everything from the small, solemn chapel to the woodpeckers banging away for bugs on the pine trees close to the cottages. The cooler temperatures and Spirit’s breath on the constant breezes balances me between sky and earth.
On this occasion, I’m retreating at a dearest friend’s family cabin about 10 miles outside of Prescott. The refuge is tucked away in the trees. A close by resident seemingly feeds the deer as they wander carefree around the property with curious eyes and attentive ears. They weren’t yet awake when I was. At least, not where I could see them. I threw some clothes on an traveled over close to Chapel Rock for a short and favorite hike of mine. It begins at the camp and travels up a trail toward a rock formation that borders a golf course. The tops of these rocks provide an outstanding vantage point to view sunrise over the somewhat distant Yavapai Hills.
Spectacular – all-ways spectacular.
This morning there were a few clouds turning brilliant red as dawn came into being. Birds woke up and began their quest for life. For the most part though, I relished in silence. The cathedral of sacred space I woke up in was filled with cool air and solid ground. I imagine that it is for occasional transcendent moments such as this morning that my soul chose to be human. These beauties balance out despair.
I remained on the watch tower for some minutes then returned to the trail to visit another favorite spot of mine. It is a spot back toward Chapel Rock not far off of the path. The summer rains and/or snowfall melt frequently create streams and a small pool of water. Hummingbirds love to dart in and seek bugs. They perch themselves on the mesquite trees, often battered by the elements. Other creatures come and go from this minute watering hole too. There were no hummingbirds today. There was no water either. Yet, the spot remained ever so solemnly beautiful.
Presence in Prescott
Just Before Sunrise – The Hawk was here
Brilliant Red Clouds transforming into Grey wisps as the Sun ebbs into the horizon.
Above the Hills the Morning transcendence occurs.
Leaves are Turning Red – The Summer rains and their shimmering pools are gone – replaced by footsteps where fleeting slender streams once were.
The Hummingbirds must be south of here now. Perhaps elsewhere as the warmth and water they seek are gone – replaced by chuckling quails hunkered down in the bushes – not easily found.
So it is that I again pray. In all of it – all of this moment – here … the hard dry wood, the dusty trails, the calls of unknown fowl, the breeze blown grass, seasons transiting from one day anext – the joys of observing beyond my body – God and I abide as One