The cathedral chapter, Dean, and staff are nestled in a camp and conference center on a mountain in the Rockies called Cathedral Ridge. Being with them is healing.  They are, without exception, a stunning group of humans; intelligent, high achieving, kind, good, trustworthy.

Mostly kind.  Kindness is an attribute I consider the highest of humanity’s capabilities. It is a relief to have found a corner of the church with people willing and able to make amazing things happen.

We are on a mountainside, says my new friend Fred, which was long inhabited by Native American Indians.Way up above the conference facilities in which we are enfolded in a blanket of blond pine and sage, there is a path to the very peak of the mountain. Fred took me there to show me  Native American altars, holy trees and ancient markings.  It was a thin spot on the planet for which I was grateful to have a guide.

Fred pointed out this tree, twisted as it is by the unrelenting winds on the top of the mountain.  The winds catch the branches and twist the entire tree around and around over time so that the bark resembles a candy cane when a stripe is cut by lightening – as it almost always is.  This tree had been killed by a parasite.

The massive open skies and dry air of Colorado still impress me.  This tree against this sky is an example.  It reminds me of the hardness of life and yet its beauty.  Life does this to us.  Its winds twists us. Its lightening strikes define the twists.  Its parasites threaten our existence with their tricky beauty.

But we reach to the sky. We reach toward God and we open our arms in the hopes that God will listen to us the way God listened to the Psalmists.

I love this planet says I.  “I know.” says God.
Lightening has struck…again.. “I know.” says God.
I am twisted.  Twisting.  It hurts.  “I know.” says God.
Something in me is killing me.  I will one day die.  “I know.” says God.
This land is beautiful and hard.  “I know.” says God.
I thirst.  “I know.” says God.  I have heard that before.  I have even said it myself.
My twistedness is harsh.  “I know.” says God. “But it is lovely when set against my blue.”
“I know.” say I.

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