“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.” John Lubbock


Full Moon Rising at Balanced Rock – Arches National Park UT

Across the western United States, you will find the greatest concentration of National Parks and Monuments and some of the most interesting geological features in the world.  It is there that you will see how the forces of nature have sculpted and carved some of the most magnificent designs and structures that the eye could behold. The ever-changing earth and its seasons have fashioned landmarks that have endured through the ages and have become the subject for the artisan and nature enthusiast alike.  When one looks back to the process of how these wonders were formed, one can see patterns and examples for life lessons as well. As the forces of nature shaped and formed these beautiful landscapes, the challenges and tribulations in our life can transform us into a “monument” of inspiration that others will admire.

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Monument Canyon – Colorado National Monument CO

Fittingly called “The Monument”, The Colorado National Monument is a majestic landscape in Western Colorado on the northern edge of the Uncompahgre Plateau. It consists of nine distinct rock formations that rise along the canyon walls below the mesas and buttes. These spectacular structures were formed over many eons, being slowly exposed by the relentless process of erosion from the wind and rain. These pillars and spires are a testament of the power to withstand the raging tempest and extreme elements. The rock that remains steadfast was solidified through intense heat and pressure. It is connected to a foundation deep within the earth.

It serves as a metaphor of life itself. Over time, life has a way of wearing you down. It could be weariness from troubled relationships, disappointments from unmet dreams, chronic health issues or sadness from a loss of a loved one.  Intense storms of emotional trauma and the winds of affliction seem to be relentless and will crash into us like waves pounding one after another against the seashore. The heat and pressure of our circumstances can overwhelm and frustrate us.


The Teton Range – Grand Teton National Park WY

The Teton Mountain Range in western Wyoming towers above the valley below bisected by the Snake River.  These peaks were also formed out of much turmoil as earthquakes shook the foundations of the earth. The subsequent pressure exposed weaknesses in the earth’s crust and caused an upheaval of rock formed by intense heat and pressure. These magnificent looking mountains were shaped by glacial ice flows that carved, scraped and rubbed away that which was not firmly fixed. The wind and rain further eroded anything not anchored leaving behind a very distinctive and beautiful scene.

There are times when the foundations in our lives will be shaken to the core. We will be blindsided by situations and our vulnerabilities will be revealed. Many times, there is an upheaval in our lives that threatens to pull us off our moorings. Perhaps, the turmoil that besets us is an opportunity for reflection. It is an opening to assess and address those defects and shortcomings and can allow us to make the necessary adjustments to our character. Unforeseen circumstances will grind away at our resolve and erode those aspects that are not durable and fixed. The intense storms and winds of affliction eat away at the weaknesses and flaws revealing who we really are.

So often we detest and despise the hardships that come our way, but it is those very things that remove the unstable and unnecessary layers and lets us see what is anchoring us. As more pressure and heat is applied, we are afforded an opportunity to become more resilient and more resolute in our ability to stand and to be rock solid in our character. Given enough time, we become “monuments” that others can look to and admire and see that there is a hope of a better day ahead in their own lives. It is a process that can be painful, but it results in something more beautiful.

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Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park CO

When we take a drive through God’s glorious creation, we see the beauty and don’t think much about the process of how it came to be. It is often the case when we come across a soul who has been tried in the fire, and pressed beyond measure. We see the meekness and the quietness of their spirit. We see a light that draws us to them.  There is something about them that is different, something majestic. They stand as a “Monument”


Islands in the Sky – Canyonlands National Park UT


The Lonesome Road Warrior       

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