It’s been a while since I posted about my weekly hikes. With the exception of vacation last week, I have been diligent in my weekly discipline. I still am amazed at the beauty of our Pine Mountain Trail and how much fun it is to hike on it, while at the same time, serving as my de facto labyrinth path on which I pray regularly.

Today I went on the 3 1/2 mile trek around the East End Loop, which starts at the Rocky Point parking lot and includes the White Candle and Beaver Pond Trails. It’s a great hike with a great overlook called “Odie’s Overlook.” This was after an early morning in Columbus at TAP, which I’m doing all week. Today we learned about prayer in the Hindu religion, how to make challah from the Jewish tradition, and banged on drums, as we focus on being “People of Peace.” Even on the first day, you can see the children laughing and playing, creating new relationships and learning about the cultures and traditions of one another.

Pole & PakBut I digress. Despite the incredible heat, the trail was wonderful. Thank goodness for shade! My hikes have been even more enjoyable since my birthday. Molly gave me two things to aid me on the trail. First, she got me a pair of hiking poles. My walking sticks have long given out, so these are heavy-duty trekking poles. Second, and most importantly on a day like today, she gave me a Camelbak. What is that, you may ask? It’s a nifty backpack that has an inlaid hydration system in it. In other words, it’s like carrying a bag of water with a long straw on your back, much like a camel, I guess. The mouth where you put the water in is large enough to put chunks of ice in so the water stays cold, too! In fact, despite that heat, when I got home 3 hours later, there were still frozen chunks in there.

Today was very productive in terms of sermon-thinking, and I’m going to go ahead and give credit to being well-hydrated. For this Sunday, we hear two stories of novices deciding to follow their mentors. Elisha begins to follow Elijah, and the disciples are following Jesus. Yet both teachers have conflicting things to say to their students. I hope to explore that on Sunday. And, I got a jump on some thoughts about the 4th of July, which falls on Sunday this year.

Other than my own thoughts, I was met by many woodland bugs, spiderwebs, lizards, squirrels, and even an armadillo. He was too fast for me to get a picture, but he crossed my path and jumped into a hole. He looked like a cartoon character stuffed in a hole with his back end sticking out.

I have been listening to a lot of new music since my birthday, as I received a number of CDs and gift certificates to Amazon.com. If you are into folk or bluegrass, check out the music of the Dave Rawlings Machine, Old Crow Medicine Show, Yonder Mountain String Band, Josh Ritter, Shawn Mullins, the Jayhawks, Sam Amidon, Horse Feathers, and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes. I also got some more live Dave Matthews Band, which is my all-time favorite. No matter how many shows I have of Dave Matthews, I never get tired. All good stuff, and I could write a book about each artist. For now, I’ll spare you.

My day ended with dinner with my sweet family, a swing on our new front porch swing, and a Friends of the Library annual meeting, at which many St. Nicholas members presided and attended. Made me proud.

Another great day in Harris County! Thanks be to God!

Jeff+