84. Wildness can be a way of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope. ~Wallace Stenger

It was not that the jagged precipices were lofty,

that the encircling woods were the dimmest shade,

or that the waters were profoundly deep;

but that over all, rocks, wood, and water brooded the spirit of repose,

and the silent energy of nature stirred the soul to its inmost depths.

~Thomas Cole



Sometimes one just has to go “where the wild things are” in order to have the senses put in order and life put in perspective.  Such a place exists for me in southwestern Oklahoma’s Wichita Mountains.  These mountains began forming approximately 500 million years ago and are ranked among the oldest ranges on earth.  However, down through the ages climactic forces have chiseled and sculpted them until “all that remain now of once lofty escarpments are weather-reduced knobs and domes.”  Even so one can’t help but stand in awe of what remains as well as the forces it took to thrust, in some cases, amazingly huge pieces of granite upward from the bowels of earth.  In addition, amid the beauty of those remaining “knobs and domes” are 13 artificial lakes and a 59,020 acre refuge which “hosts a rare piece of the past–a remnant mixed-grass prairie that escaped destruction because the rocks underfoot defeated the plow.”  The “refuge provides habitat for large native grazing animals such as American bison, Rocky Mountain elk, and white-tailed deer who were all once in danger of extinction.  Texas longhorn cattle also share the Refuge rangelands as a cultural and historical legacy species.  In addition more than 50 mammal, 240 bird, 64 reptile and amphibian, 36 fish, and 806 plant species thrive on the refuge.”  So it is that in this piece of Creation, relatively untamed since the beginning of time, I find more than enough wildness to hear the voice of God murmuring among the profusion of rocks, speaking softly over the flowing waters, and whispering across the waving prairie grasses.

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.  -Psalm 29:2