Trails and Ducks

Show me your ways, LORD, teach me Your paths.

Psalm 25

Adventures begin with a sense of destination, right?  There is usually some place or feature you’ve heard about that you want to experience- that’s what gets you up and on the trail.  You find the trailhead, lace up your boots, and then you hike.  You hike for hours (me) or even days (younger people).

So, while the destination is the goal, the journey lies along the trail.  And the day will definitely go awry if you lose the trail.  Don’t do that.  Hiking is demanding enough as it is.

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I like trails.  I take a lot of pictures of them. To me, they symbolize journeys. Based on the Bible, I think Jesus cares a lot about journeys and we know He has invited us to follow Him. If that’s not a journey, I don’t know what is.

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The thing is, I wish Jesus would only use trails that are super easy to read.  “You can’t miss it, it’s ground 12 inches into the decomposed granite and bordered by meadow grass and wildflowers”- trails that seem like they were etched into creation on Day Three, so obviously do they wind through their environment. They’re predictable – you can see them unfolding a good thirty yards in front of you at all times.

But if you’ve hiked much (or followed Jesus for very long), you know that’s not how journeys work. Not all stretches of the trail are clearly delineated.

For example, sometimes the ground you have to cover to reach your destination is one big slab of granite – it’s too rock-hard to accommodate the indentation of a path. And so, trail builders mark the way with little rock  cairns, “ducks”, to keep you from getting lost.

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I’m so glad that the people who know the way took the time to find the rocks and make the piles. They invested time and energy to help hikers complete the journey, and I appreciate that.

And, not only do the ducks help me from making the 11:00 local news because I got lost in the wilderness, they also remind me that when crossing terrain that makes navigation difficult, it makes perfect sense that we should look for, find, and follow the markers that keep us moving in the right direction.  They’ll be there- but we may have to look hard.

It’s an adventure, after all.

kpeterson  8/15

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One Response to Trails and Ducks

  1. I love this! Why, oh why, was I picturing little upturned yellow tails waddling serenely across the path? Cairns, I’ve got covered, “ducks”, completely new to me in their trail-guide form. But then, again, as little ducklings dutifully follow hard after their momma so that they won’t get lost, you reminded us well that we need to follow hard after our Daddy God so that we don’t get lost. It’s a long and winding trail we’re on—best not to stray too far afield.

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