Wisdom from the Mountains–My Story

Sierra crest above South Lake, Bishop Creek

My first views of the mountains were from far away. Next was camping in the forest with tantalizing views of high peaks beyond. Finally, when I was ready, I began backpacking in the high country with friends. We camped by rushing streams and peaceful lakes. We marveled at powerful rock walls. We discovered how thick the alpine turf grows–a solid mass of green living matter–in harsh conditions. We marveled at flowers blooming on windswept cliffs. We climbed peaks and saw broad vistas.

At the end of a long day we would be tired–a good, warm kind of tired. After dinner we would sit back and watch the peaks flame red in the alpenglow. As night fell the stars would come out and–so many stars! We could hardly believe so many existed–but there they were.

Then one day on a peak the view overwhelmed my senses. High summits reached for a wide, endless deep blue sky; deep canyons descended below basins sprinkled with glacial lakes; thick green forest carpeted the middle slopes. Lacy patterns of melting ice decorated a lake at my feet.

It was more than I could take in or comprehend. I knew then that I had come home. I was like the prodigal son returned. I knew I had been blessed beyond measure in spite of my shortcomings. I had been made a full member of a world of wonder and love.

I know now I am home in God’s world and in God’s embrace wherever I am. Each one of us is, and has been from birth. We need only to know it.


About David McCoard

After earning my MS in geology I've done various things including managing the ski touring program at a small lodge in the Sierra. In 2010 I retired from Contra Costa College in California. I've always been fascinated by the mountains and nature and have spent countless days hiking, backpacking, climbing and skiing in the Sierra. The spiritual insights I've learned there have set the course for my life. Now I have time to share them and strike up a conversation.
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One Response to Wisdom from the Mountains–My Story

  1. This is wonderful, David. I’m learning about the mountains and about you, with your good photos and clear insightful writing. What a great thing to do after retiring — and a benefit to all of us. Best wishes, Susan and Bill

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