Protect me from Myself

In the solitude, I walked.
Being mid-summer, I expected to see lots of other hikers,
but I did not.
Last week, after zip-lining and the bear adventure,
I headed to Dukes Creek Falls
and hiked the path to the waterfall.

Dukes Creek Falls Trail
I really don’t mind camping alone … hiking alone … being alone.
As I began this meandering, I was struck by the fact that
there were no directional signs.
No sign to tell me, “Falls this way” with an arrow.
So, I chose the wider path, knowing it was more traveled.
I walked at least forty-five minutes before I saw another soul.
I was not afraid … and I had my phone so I could make a call if I needed help …
well … but, if I needed help
I might not BE ABLE to make a call. This thought was in the forefront of my mind.
I wish I was brave enough to carry a gun, but I am not.
I walked, watched and listened.

And I saw no bear or mountain lion … or whatever stealthy critter
climbs across these hills.
I stumbled upon no snake or dangerous spider.
I was met by no mad rapist who drug me off into the woods.

But, the more I hike alone,
the less that I want to hike alone.
It feels

Yet, I saw great beauty as I walked … mushrooms of vibrant orange scattered about the path’s edge, breath taking expanse of mountains and rocks covered with patterned lichen and lush moss.

Then I happened upon an old hornet’s nest.
I’ve only seen one in the wild one time … this one quite small and abandoned early,
I suspected.
Only five to ten feet of the path, I wanted to get a closer look – a photo of course …
when I saw a single little apian. He crawled out of the hole at the base and
and right up the wall of this chewed-up-wood and bee-spit abode.
This was no forsaken nest.
I dropped by backpack. I shoved my little Sony into a pocket
and threw my friend Anne’s camera strap around my neck.
… closer …
Stealthily, I pursued.

Only a few feet to get a good photo. The air still … the surroundings quiet.
I grabbed a sapling to give me stability
but being on a hill, my feet slipped
rolling on pine needles, leaves and loose soil.
The ground proclaimed enough of a rumble
that suddenly there were thirty hornets carousing that nest
carrying out their duty to scramble up the side
of that papery, orb of a home – watching and protecting.

“Mad as a hornet,” crossed my mind.
No cliche becomes cliche without foundation.
I knew better than to go farther.
I didn’t want to experience the wrath of these flighted warriors …
me, all alone in the forest with only a phone for protection.

I slowly eased back up the short incline onto the path.
Nary a buzz came in my direction
and I thought of God’s mercy and protection …
I remember His notice that He would give us a way of escape from sin
but we must look for it …
be on the watch.

1 Corinthians 10:13 bids us
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.
And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Like Jesus spoke in parables, paralleling the spiritual and physical worlds, God convicts and teaches me through similar daily events.

He will provide a way out. When we have made foolish decisions
to adventure out alone
or down a slippery slope,
He will show us
and warn us
and let us know there is danger.
But, we must be alert to see
that the place we venture is not abandoned.
There is activity there … harm and danger looming.

The falls were gorgeous – 

falling from great heights
with slim, tall sections that spilled down the mountain’s side,
wide, heavy areas that poured liquid quenching loud and strong

and trickles that found exit after slow twirls in pockets of beauty.

Struck by His majesty
and humbled by His mercies
I remember that
even when I foolishly hike alone …
I am not truly alone.
Praise Him.


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