Petoskey, Michigan…Heading South on the North Country Trail
May 26-27, 2017
Outside of hiking the streets of Grand Rapids, it has been a good six months since being on the trail. I couldn’t believe how good it felt to be hiking over Memorial Day. I am also realizing that each hike brings increasing pain in my legs, hip, and back. So far, the joy is out weighing the discomfort.
When I think about what I enjoy the most I believe it is the quietness. I have come to realize solitude is time with God. This can be found in many places. My cousin, a pastor in the Presbyterian Church, found it in a chair facing a wall. I find it in the alone-ness of hiking in city streets, along train tracks, on a country road, or designated wilderness areas.
Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness. Moses spent forty years. Adam and Eve spent days, maybe eons of time, walking the garden of creation with the Lord. Sometimes the Lord breaks though in an instant, yet, for me it is a quest and process. This weekend there was no insight but rather an affirmation of living in the present with great fellowship of family and friends and the sweetness of knowing the goodness of life.
Suddenly there was a sign and side trail. It took me in a big circle on a knoll adjacent to North Central Michigan College heavily wooded. Every fifty yards there was a sign post and a short description of the life of the Russian Mennonite immigrant Seibert family from the early 1800. They came seeking freedom of worship and found hardship, death, and a home. What remains are a few stones indicating where a two story home once stood overlooking Little Traverse Bay and an exposed dug out area where they once rolled huge logs down the hill side for lumber to be sold. They came, lived, gave birth to seven children, now dispersed, and the history is soon forgotten. As I walked further, the trail almost disappeared. A wise man once wrote, “There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and find enjoyment in his toil.”
May that also be your experience this week.