Posts Tagged ‘desert’

On the Trail

June 8, 2013

My almost-62 years of this life have yielded a precious array of experiences. I praise the Lord for all of  them.

One in particular that I remember was, as it turned out, a life-threatening little jaunt through the Utah desert with my son, Micah.

What he did on the trail in a moment of quick judgement that dusty day– back in ’05 I believe it was– probably saved my life.

We were out in the middle of nowhere where the  scrubby country was dry and the sun was high, packing into an overnight camping adventure somewhere west of Moab and east of Cedar City. Maybe it was going in, or maybe it was going out, I don’t remember– We were hiking along a trail out in the flat parts, before or after visiting the gorgeous sandstone artistry of God that had been sculpted out of red rock many an eon ago by some ancient swirl of flood or receding inland sea or some such force of nature but that was then and this is now and its dry as a yucca bone out there in this particular geologic age.

I can hear well enough, but not as keenly as my young son, and by n’ by as we were progressin along he heard something that compelled his young whippersnappin mind to jerk into action and arrest my development, very suddenly, along the trail.

I was trekkin along as contentedly as you please, probably whistling’ Grofe’s On the Trail melody from the Grand Canyon Suite, although we were many a mile from that landmark. (The Grand Canyon leg of my life’s journey would come a year or two later on a little jaunt out West with my daughter, Kim.)

But there I was trekking right along on the trail in the middle of nowhere, Utah, when suddenly my forward progress was arrested abruptly by a force of nature that Newton might call the inertia of jerk, or– your son grabbing your pack-straps from behind and jerkin it hard so that dad couldn’t take another step forward because right there in the middle of the trail. . .


I’m blessed to be alive,  I tell ya. No tellin how quickly I might have expired that day, with the breath of life wispin out of me for the last time if Micah hadn’t heard that critter when I didn’t, and jerked me back into this present life instead of kingdom come!

Btw, that Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofe, composed in 1931,(you’ve heard it in some old western or cartoon movie somewhere) that I was probably whistling when this near-death episode happened out there in Utah–it can be heard here— one of the greatest musical expressions that God ever laid on the mind and hand of man, or back of burro beast. Give it a listen. You can almost hear the trail-donkeys a brayin’ in that middle movement–the one called “On the Trail”.

I wish I had had one of them trail donkeys that day; I would have been a little further off the ground. But I guess it doesn’t matter ’cause my boy saved me anyway from certain death out in the middle of nowhere. Thank you, Jesus!

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

Son delivers father, Utah 2007

February 4, 2012

Wide. That’s what Utah is. And bright. Bright as a sandstone mesa under noonday sun. Dry, as a bone.

That’s where we were, two men walking on hot, dusty trail in the middle of Nowhere, Utah. With a pack on the back, an old fifty-something like me couldn’t hear the unexpected as it lurked somewhere in the distance.

The near distance, on the middle of the trail, and the same color as the sand itself: death.

Potential, death.

So the old guy, father, couldn’t hear death wait for him, just a pebble-toss ahead. The rustle of the pack, the shuffle of feet, the heat of the day. Dad’s old ears render him clueless sometimes.
But the son heard, and he responded.


Old dad shuffling right along on the trail, heading directly for death. Suddenly, he is pulled backward rudely, violently.
“Dad!” shouted the son to the father who had given life to him.

Dad got stopped in his tracks, son’s hand firmly jerking him back by grab of his pack.
The snake was coiled in the middle of the trail, coiled, rattles just a-hissin’ through the desert heat.

Son who had been given life through the father gave life back again. Thanks, son.

(This really happened.)

Glass half-Full