Later this month we are planning a trip to Bois Blanc Island in the Straits of Mackinaw. It will be an adventure. Years ago, when the children were small, I dreamed about being with the family in God’s creation. Here is a story a wrote ten years ago about something that happened about 20 years ago… Maybe it will encourage you to take advantage of springtime wherever you are.
Years ago I picked up a magazine on walking and hiking. On the cover was a silhouette of a lone hiker with a walking stick standing on a rock ledge over a picturesque valley filled with colorful trees. The magazine was filled with stories of adventures and pictures to go along with the stories. I thought about how nice it would be to explore some of those places some day with the boys. Hiking high ridges. Telling stories around a fire at night. Sleeping with the sound of the wild all around us. At the time Dan and Wes were not born. Kyle and Chuck were about eleven and seven years old. I closed the magazine and thought on that for a while. A plan began to form in my mind.
I checked the map. At the time we lived a beautiful thirty-minute drive from the Mohican National Forrest. I made a quick inventory of our resources. We had little food at home and less money, but we did have some peanut butter, some carrots and celery, and some Jonathan apples. We did have about three-quarters of a tank of gas in my little brown Dodge station wagon. We did have a picture-perfect autumn day ahead of us. The Mohican Forest had a fire tower and a covered bridge, acres of forest, a river running through it, miles of walking trails and some beautiful rock formations to explore.
We loaded our simple meal into a little day pack, grabbed our walking sticks and binoculars and started off soon after sunrise for a day together in creation. We hiked and explored. From one high vantage point we could see humming birds among the branches of a huge pine. Over a deep valley Turkey Vultures rode thermals high into the air. We hiked to a fire tower and climbed it to the top. The view was stunning. We hiked along high ridges and through valleys following the trails running along waterways. We explored a covered bridge over the river.
After we had worked up a huge appetite we found a little footbridge where a clear stream ran beneath the walking path. We stopped there to eat our lunch. Simple as it was the food tasted especially good outdoors. We ate all of it and sat for a while and watched the water run over the rocks below.
We hiked until late afternoon. It was a Saturday. I had preparations for the Lord’s Day. My heart was already full from time with my sons and the stimulation of God’s creation. We started home out of the State Forrest and along State Route 3 past farms and fields, hills rising and falling around us. We stopped and spent our only cash on a box of Little Debbie Nutty Bars and something to drink. We had all we needed and tucked away a memory that will live for years but we spent less than three dollars and a half a tank of gas.
When Are You Going to Start?
Millions of people are going to have a great time someday when they have the money to do it. I would rather not wait, but find joy and share love in simple ways. With the things I have now and the people around me who love to be with me. I want my family to remember me as the kind of man who loved life and found lovely things to enjoy, even when He didn’t have a lot of money. I don’t want to wait to live until I have expensive toys and money for luxuries.
Here is my paraphrase of Proverbs 17:1 “Better is a simple meal with contentment and love than a house full of expensive things where there is no harmony.”
One More Thing:
The other night I had a wonderful time with Lois strolling the streets of a quaint historic village. There were dozens of little picturesque shops. It was evening and they were all closed so it was easy not to spend much money. The only shop open was an ice cream shop in a back alley. I bought Lois a big cone I knew she would never be able to finish so we enjoyed it together.
We strolled along the streets and held hands. The evening was perfect. I stole as many kisses as I could. I tried to think of ways to prolong the time together. Finally we drove slowly away from the village. Overhead Lois spotted a hot air balloon. There were others. We followed them. Eventually they led us to the margin of a lake were we walked and talked some more. The balloons drifted in the clear blue sky over the lake. The beauty of the sights linger in my heart now. The smooth surface of the lake reflecting a blue sky. The colorful balloons. Lois’s soft little hands in mine. Her deep brown eyes.
We didn’t have to travel to a far away place. We didn’t have to spend a lot of money. We didn’t have to wait to go somewhere else enjoy life.
Riverfront Character Inn and International Conference Center