First day of the New Year, set apart for the Lord, to glory and revel in His creation! A quick search, for “places to hike near me”, yielded a hidden gem: Falls Ridge Preserve, only 30 minutes away; and dogs welcome!
Quickly changed into hiking clothes, grabbed the back-pack and you should have seen Dixie. We haven’t done this for a long time, so when she saw the back-pack come out of the closet, she was hopefully ready! Loaded Dixie Bella, and the back-pack, and headed for Route 11; in the red Subaru.
Treasures require effort. GPS was not accurate and, instead of giving up, traveled another 1/4 mile before finally finding Falls Ridge Road. Whereupon turning, we are traversing across a very narrow bridge, with signage that explicitly, and boldly, declares, “cross at your own risk”. Gingerly crossing the partially wooden bridge, sigh of relief escaping once on pavement again.
The road in front of us appears to end at the railroad tracks, just ahead, even though there is a house directly in front of us. Now, where to go? Remembering, treasures have to be sought after (“seek, and you will find” – Matthew 7:7), I gently eased up the hill to the railroad track. Popping up onto the ridge, pleasantly the road appeared ahead, dropping down to the left.
Slowly crossing the railroad tracks, the tires protested with sounds reverberating, “bumpity, bumpity, bumpity”, as we crossed both inbound and outbound sets of tracks. The one lane, dirt road, lay before us; winding alongside the gently flowing creek, on the right. Parking lot, clearly visible up ahead, on the left, with five cars parked, each waiting for their passengers to return. Backing into my parking spot, I could hardly contain my joy as no one could stop Dixie and I from enjoying this much deserved retreat.
Grabbing the keys, opening the hatch back and getting Miss Dixie out, before opening the passenger door to retrieve the back-pack; hoisting it over my right shoulder. Car locked, keys contained, we both lunged forward with high expectation!
In just a few minutes, the sounds of the waterfall are so audible that you can ascertain that it will be on your right, almost where the Bradley Trail begins; this is confirmed by muddy tracks and water covering the trail. On the left of the trail, across a wooden bridge, stands the lone, stone and brick, limestone kiln; clearly visible. Nature calls, so Dixie and I chose the trail headed towards the kiln which also becomes the Chamberlain Trail.
After an arduous, all up-hill hike. A blood pumping, alive awareness hike, I can’t contain my joy any longer. Setting the back-pack down, I opened it and looked for personal treasures I used to store; notebook – No; note pad – No; pen – No; colored pencils – No. On my knees, hunched over the back-pack, a little disappointed, for you see, if I had had my notebook, or notepad, what a love story I would have wrote! Dixie Bella nudged my hands out of the way so she could look inside the back-pack for what she could scrounge as a treat.
Looking up to heaven, I acknowledged the truth, Yes, Yes, Yes, it’s been a while since I felt free to soar, full of passion and exuberantly embracing life. This is a poignant reminder, that I had neglected to ensure, that those things I used to value, and treasure, were with me. Giving Dixie a treat and some water, we resumed our hike.
The Chamberlain Trail loops around the top ridge of a mountain. We decided to take the left trail and loop around towards the right. The views are spectacular. As close to God as I could be at this moment in time, in this particular spot.
Pausing, praising God that William P. Bradley had left this precious gift of God’s creation, this hidden gem, to be shared with all of God’s creation. Pausing, in thanksgiving; breathing deeply in and then exhaling…
in the spirit… “I see myself, standing taller; prouder. I see myself the way my heavenly Father created me, and intended for me to be.
In the purest form, standing, unclothed, unfettered; unhindered from worldly expectations.
I see myself, as God sees me, pure, holy, righteous, in right-standing with Him, through his precious son, Jesus.
As I stand before my Creator, on the top of this ridge, the side of this mountain, He shows me, and I see, the earth in me; the earthen vessel that I am.
The air I breathe, His breath, filling my lungs with life and promise; a hope for tomorrow. Each exhale, a release of toxins, a conscious effort of my body to rid itself of the contaminants and poison of this world. He revels in His creation, boasting in His glory and handiwork, and reveals this rhythmic motion as evidence of His heartbeat; the very heartbeat of God Himself.
The wind that blows against my body, buffets all around me. He shows me, myself, as if no man-made object, has ever touched me; no scissor, ever shorn my hair. He shows me, Me: Cheryl Louise Ward Rose Bradley, lovely, beautiful, glorious in honor, tender-hearted, tender in nature, with thoughts just as lovely, pure, holy and acceptable unto Him.
He reveals the invisible, the unseen. Wind becomes exposed, as it whips around me taking tufts of billowing and blowing, cascading hair, my glory, whipping all around me, covering and shielding my body before exposing it again; my hair, like fabric, piled around my feet.
As I stand before Him, my Creator, my heavenly Father, it is just He and me. He shows me the Garden of Eden and how we were intended to be. I know no nakedness, no feeling of shame. He reveals Adam, pronounced Adaum, was created to cultivate the garden; dressing and keeping the garden, sanctifying it and keeping it holy, separated unto God, for the Man.
The Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him; a helper fit for him.” He showed me, from Adam’s bone, God took and fashioned woman, and brought her unto him. She became a handmade gift from God, presented, to the Man. She became bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh and called: Wo-man, because she was taken out of the Man.
I cried out, “Father, what about me. Twice, I have been a helper fit for the Man, yet no helper fit for me; only hurt, only pain. Twice, my desire has been to my husbands, and they ruled over me, and it was not good.”
He replied, “I called the Man to separate himself unto the Woman, to cling to her, and become one flesh. First in Me, and then in thee.”
I saw my heavenly Father reach down His hand to take mine. He gently lifted me up, high above the earth, elevated me on a circular, crystal clear, platform, totally exposed high above the mountains, before He said, “Beloved, Daughter of Mine, let Me fashion you clothes to cover your nakedness should Man come along.”
I watched, fascinated, as He fashioned me a deerskin dress. The beautiful white, underbelly fur of the deer, graced the hem of the dress as if it was an intended design, with scalloped edges. He was finished quickly, and it appeared on me, just as quickly.
As I stood back on the earth, on top of the mountain, I blended perfectly into the cold, barren landscape that was naked and bereft of its covering, for the time of year was winter. I felt the cold earth burrow its way into my feet. Before, I could say anything, He knew. From heaven, He handed down to me a matching pair of moccasins, with white seams, and white soles, as I reached for them, before I could touch them, they were on my feet.
He said, “Daughter, ride on the wings of the Snow White Dove.” I knew He was referring to my Lord, Jesus. He continued, “Grasp tightly, cling to the feathers on the shoulder of the flying Eagle.” I saw myself riding the back of this huge Eagle, my legs wrapped around it mid-body, my knees pressed into its sides, leaning forward, my upper body out-stretched, my hands tightly grasped its feathers, my fingers clenched, dug into muscle, sinew, and ligaments of its shoulders, I became one with it; feeling each movement as it soared.
He continued, “Ride with Me upon the heavens, soar with Me above the earth.” And with this, I saw and understood, He, who sits in the heavens, He sees all, He knows all. He is everywhere. His words ride the currents of the airways, the air streams from the heavens to the earth. His words are tangible, living, breathing. His words are fruitful. His words are Him, and He is His Word. He was, He is, He will be.
The Christ, Jesus, is The Living Word of God; the Word made flesh and dwelt among us. Holy, holy, holy, is the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”