This is something that I wrote as part of Cori Conners "Word of the Day" exercises inspired from the "Random Word Generator" http://watchout4snakes.com/creativitytools/RandomWord/RandomWordPlus.aspx I don't think I would have written this without the inspiration the word gave me but it turned out to be an important story to me.
WORD OF THE DAY – HILLS -- March 2009
The Farmington hills called to me from the beginning. I was a strong energetic 31-year-old in 1978 when we moved into Somerset. I had three small children and a husband who taught me that exercise is important. Now 31 years later, leaving from a different house, I am still walking the same hills—not with the same energy and strength but with a continuing love for all the paths and parts we have explored over the years.
I have loved those hills with a heaven’s view of the Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island. As the seasons change, the breathtaking view is always new with different cloud patterns and colors as the dappled morning light illuminates the valley. I once had a calendar with a Cezanne painting of rooftops from a hillside. I often think of that painting when I look down on the houses from my hillside vantagepoint. I understand why Cezanne painted rooftops.
In the Spring when I begin a new season of walking I enjoy the Ocur Mountains, fresh with morning sunlight and winter snow; looking like a giant white dragon laying across the horizon. The Great Salt Lake always reflects the mood of the day (when it has water). These are mostly desert hills with sagebrush, and a few scrub oak but in the spring the purple lupine and yellow Wode weed bloom in abundance. Wode is not natural to the area but was carried here by pioneer settlers who wanted its yellow flowers to use for fabric dyes. Now it is a prolific curse to farmers. There is even a bounty on it for those who would like to work on eradicating it. The waves of yellow are so beautiful across the hills that it is hard for me to dislike it when it blooms. I’m always thrilled when I find a little clump of sego lilies along the trail. Unfortunately, the new mega-houses have taken over the hills and most of the lilies. All the hillside building has been hard for me to accept. Growth is inevitable (and I suppose I am part of it) but as long as I can still find a trail I will adjust.
Late summer is always my favorite time because the sunflowers cover the hills and line the path with their cheery bright faces encouraging me on. Every day of early fall is a new feast of color as the hillside foliage burns with ever changing hues. Then, there is a second round of glory as fall moves to the valley and weaves around the houses in jaunty reds and yellows.
These hills have come to be my wilderness temple. I would never go "plugged in" during my walking time because then God could not talk to me and He has, many times, but mostly I talk to Him. I know why Jesus went to the hills to walk and pray. When I leave the house in the morning I feel like I have opened the door into an alternate dimension. A dimension where God can reach me, where ideas flow and memories flood, and I am free of worldly distractions.
Your mind will go to wonderful places if you let it while walking. Oh, I have cried plenty in those hills—a very soul wrenching cathartic cry at times, at others just a sad whimper. At some point the spirit comforts me and hope is restored. On occasion I have printed out words to songs or scriptures I want to memorize and poked them in my pocket for reference. Now if my spirit needs direction I can belt out the words of my entire musical or scripture repitore...every verse out loud. You can’t do that walking the city streets. Some of my songs are: Where Can I Turn For Peace, The Light Divine, I Stand All Amazed, Where Love Is There God is Also, I Know My Savior Lives and others. My most treasured memorized scripture is Isaiah 53. Every verse of that chapter is stamped in my heart and I try to say it over every day sometime, if not on the walk then at night as I am going to sleep.
Parts I love:
"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows..."
"...the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
"...and who shall declare his generation."
"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth..."
"...when thou shalt make his soul and offering for sin, he shall see his seed..."
"...by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;..."
I know Christ better because I know Isaiah 53.
Mike has walked with me when he can for the past several years. In the beginning he was a runner and we rarely went together but as the infirmities of age have slowed us down we now hobble along as best we can. Conversing together in this dimension is different than talking at home. We are freer; more honest; less distracted and funnier. I miss Mike now when he doesn’t go and Sammy, the dog that walked with me for 15 years.
On days when I walk alone now I always thank God over and over that I can still come to my Temple in the hills because there are mornings when my feet hurt or my knees are flared and I can’t go or at least not far. The day will come and it may not be far hence, when I will never walk those hills again. It will be a sad day, but until then I will continue to go when I can. I will worship and seek the spirit till the end and fill my soul with the goodness of my hills for the time when I will only see them from a window or heaven.