Friday, May 08, 2009

St. John Trip, Day One

I headed out for St. John's Monastery this morning. I spent yesterday afternoon unloading and reloading my truck with all the tools I'll need for hanging, finishing and painting the sheetrock on the Church. This morning I stopped at Circle K and loaded the cab with all the stuff I need to make it to Tonopah, Nevada tonight. I've never driven through this part of the country, so I'm taking the longer "scenic" route to St. John's. So, I got my Rand Nally atlas, my Google map, Salsa Verde Doritos, box of Cheez-its, oatmeal cookies, a Big Gulp and a cup of coffee. On the road again....

Driving across Arizona and through Nevada is a LOT of desert. I started thinking about the 40 year wilderness wanderings of Israel and the notion of "God's plan for my life, so I recorded some thoughts on for a podcast during the long straight stretches to stay awake. (I don't know how the recordings came out yet...) This is a view of the road leaving Phoenix taken from the driver's seat.

and this is the road about 7 hours later heaing toward Death Valley...
...and the road again about ten hours later heading to Tonopah...hmmm, looks familiar.
So, I stopped in Death Valley. I've seen a LOT of desert after living in Arizona for 43 years. This was amazingly desolate. Now I know why they call it Death Valley. Everything is dead...(click on the pictures to enlarge).
There must be rain there some time. This is curled mud in a wash.
This is the walls of Salt Creek. They are covered with... you guessed it, about an inch of salt.
This is the floor of the valley that Salt Creek flows into. It is miles and miles of about an inch or more of salt. The sign says it was a lake about 10,000 years ago.
But as grim as the landscape is, there are signs of life.
Death Valley is a lot like the Orthodox view of the fallen human being. Our nature is broken and marred, but the image of God is not destroyed completely. Everything in Death Valley is "according to the nature of the earth", there is nothing "UN natural" about it except that everything is in improper proportions and relationships to one another. As disordered as it is and consequently as dead as it is, it is still "earth" and retains its created nature. It has the image, but lacks the likeness, the fullness of what it could be if all its parts were in proper order. And yet, as disordered as it is, it still manifests life.

Tomorrow, I'll drive through Lake Tahoe and up to the Monastery. Stay tuned...


rightwingprof said...

Llama on the dashboard?

Anonymous said...

Looks like the donkey from the "Shrek" movies.


s-p said...

I don't know, I found it in the garbage. It might become my hood ornament.