When they said, ‘I know my Redeemer liveth,’
I told them, ‘He’s dead.’ And when they told me
‘God is dead,’ I answered, ‘He goes fishing ever day
in the Kentucky River. I see Him often.’
–Wendell Berry, The Contrariness of the Mad Farmer
Sundays have become our church day. Unbounded by walls, unconcerned with committees or men’s breakfast groups, absent is the offering plate, missing are the communion wafers.
It is simply us, our family, and a trail. Likely some doughnuts from the corner grocer before, fingers sticky and bits of glaze and frosting sticking to corners of mouths. We always imagine eating them upon the trail, just beyond the trailhead, but we can never quite make it. The enticing smell and the crinkle of waxed bag is just too much.
As we climb, we settle into comfortable conversation and tend to split into pairs. The speediers pause upon the trail, waiting for shorter, younger legs as we study lizards and rock patterns and bite marks on the prickly pears, wondering what animals like to have cactus snacks in the dark.
Mostly, we unplug and wonder, talking, giggle, sweat and climb. When the trail narrows and steepens, steps become less sure, and the rocks close in and provide comfort, like a solid hug and our steps slow and become deliberate and cautious. We watch for nests and cactus spines.
Soon, we reach our limit, just shy of the summit, assuring ourselves that eventually we’ll find our way to the top.
Craig and his family of four have made it to Prescott, AZ and have started a tradition of Sunday morning hikes. He feels blessed to be living in such a remarkable place.