Snow still hung on pine tree branches. Two feet of the frozen powder rested beneath our feet. Although gusts of wind blew from the mountain passes, the forest was amazingly quiet. Ahead of us, white-marbled cliffs and snow-capped peaks surrounded a frozen lake framed by sloping snow drifts whipped by the wind into patterns of swirls and waves. Sunlight sparkled all around. A fantastic winter wonderland!
Wearing snow-shoes, we had hiked about a thousand feet up and 2 miles away from where the road ended. This was the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park. Longs Peak, the tallest in the park, was over the next ridge. I climbed it one summer long ago during my younger and abler years. But this was my first venture into the mountains during winter. All of us agreed that it was an amazing place to visit but way too harsh an environment to live in.
From our cabin porch
2012 family picture
Fortunately, we had the warmth and comfort of our rented, 4-bedroom ‘cabin’ to come back to each evening, where we gathered around the stone fire-place for family time. We studied God’s Word, focusing on our task to be lights in a dark world that is “in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). We talked about how to be “in” the world, but not “of” it, always asking, “How does my involvement in this activity or thought (watching a movie, listening to music, shopping, eating, imagining, etc.) affect my relationship with the Father?”
During the week we went sledding, played games, built a snow fort, strolled through downtown Estes Park, enjoyed the beautiful Christmas lights along the streets and shops, and ate delicious home-cooked meals and holiday goodies. One morning we found deer staring in our kitchen window. It snowed when we arrived and snowed again on Christmas Eve. All of us agreed it was the coldest and whitest Christmas any of us had ever experienced.
Now we are back in Texas. A new year has begun. We still have social/dinner events on the calendar for the coming week, trying to extend the Christmas spirit as long as we can. Hannah is here looking for a job until she starts graduate school in the fall. Martha returns to college on the 11th. But for now, they are all here. Lots of laughs, lots of stories, lots of sharing. A moment to treasure.
Happy new year to all.