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Last week I returned to my love, Yosemite, and visited two other national parks along the way. I will share their stories in depth at a later date, but would like to share select highlights from the entire trip at this time.

One of the most delightful sights that met my eyes as we rode the shuttle from the Phoenix airport to the rental car facility were the numerous saguaro cacti that lined the road. Some were as tall as trees, with arms that branched off from their bodies and reached for the sky. I was so awestruck that I never reached for my phone to capture the moment on camera, but it will always be treasured in my heart.

Sedona, Arizona, also sparked joy for me, but not for the reasons one may surmise. Rather, it was the realization that the red sandstone formations there served as the inspiration for the backdrop of one of my daughter’s all-time favorite movies as a child, “Cars.”

Therefore, I put the movie’s signature song, Rascal Flatts’ “Life is a Highway,” on the radio for her auditory entertainment because interacting with her in this way is one of my favorite pastimes. 

Then there were the stars that sparkled like diamonds in the darkness above the Grand Canyon, and the existential question that rose in the presence of such beauty. 

There is a song from “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack, “Never Enough” by Loren Allred, in which this sentiment is expressed: 

“All the shine of a thousand spotlights / All the stars we steal from the night sky /

Will never be enough / Never be enough / Towers of gold are still too little / These hands could hold the world but it’ll /Never be enough / Never be enough / For me.”

So, as I looked up at the stars, I felt God ask me if all the stars and the world below them were enough for me. Indeed, they weren’t enough for him. Does nature fill my heart, or have I reserved it for its creator? It is a question I still ponder.

In Yosemite, Bridal Veil and Yosemite Falls thundered with mighty power, fueled by snowmelt from the extraordinary amount of snow the park received during the winter and spring. I had never walked the trail to Bridal Veil Falls; but I did now, marveling at the way the water rushing down the rocky hill resembled Hidden Falls in Wyoming. 

Yet, a more marvelous sight awaited us ahead. I began to see the adults who entered the mist at the base of the falls emerge as children, wet and laughing with wonder and delight. It was as if they were transformed by their encounter, a baptism of sorts, after which they were not the same.

I then entered the mist myself; and the wind lifted water droplets from the falls as if it were truly a veil, and it covered all of our faces.

 

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