By Josh Harrod Casper
It’s funny to be a person that sees God in a rotting log or busy river water, but I do. In fact, nature is full of these little things that I see God in. I was camping a couple of weeks ago at Bagby Hot Springs here in midwestern Oregon.
I know that sounds fancy, but basically it’s just hot water from the ground [120℉, to be exact]. In Bagby, they have directed these springs into small wooden tubs carved out of giant logs that offer an inviting place to sit for an hour or two and enjoy the mineral-rich heated goodness.
I love the simplicity of camping. Whether it’s the neat camping gadgets, or bringing only what you need for a few days, that really thins out life for a short time.
No computers, cell phones or iPods [not even twitter] — just water, food, friends and a few good books. Those who have experienced this know just how good food tastes when you’re eating for self-sustaining energy.
Most times when I find myself in this wilderness, I process God as though we were both sitting underneath trees or smelling the damp pine-rich air. To quote one of my favorites artists, “There is a movement in our stillness…”
As I contemplate simplicity and stillness, I find a movement of my soul. I came across a stunning poem by Li Po called “Conversations in the Mountains”,
If you were to ask me why I dwell among green mountains,
I should laugh silently; my soul is serene.
The peach blossom follows the moving water;
There is another heaven and earth beyond the world of men.
In the woods, I find God in the stillness. In the quietness of my heart, He shows me these beautiful things and wakes me up to my imagination — my imagination to dream and feel that I truly belong to His Beloved.
At times I think, “Really? Really does it take me coming all this way to find that?” It’s a question I’m still working on.
Sometimes you don’t live in the quietest neighborhood or have the time to center yourself but in the midst of our busy lives, these woods take me in and remind me that I was created. Like the green mountains and the peach blossoms, I was created. For a moment, I was a part of the woods. I was part of the wonder and simplicity of the browns and greens.
In the woods, I find myself…a Beloved child of God.
Josh is a Mississippi boy who now lives in Portland, Oregon. He is currently enjoying being a newlywed to his beautiful wife Hannah, who both met in 2007 while serving with Word Made Flesh in Calcutta, India. His interests include: books, gardens, racial reconciliation, southern cuisine, coffee and birds (in no particular order). Josh is also an aspiring: writer, Stumptown barista-extraordinaire and world-renowned southern chef.