Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Calm (emotionally) (09/13/07)
TITLE: Serenity Mountain
By David F. Palmieri Sr.
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Stories and songs abound of mountains and the men who dwell in their majestic beauty and, often-uncivilized territory. "Grizzly Adams, Wolverton Mountain, and Davey Crocket," immediately come to my mind. Also, "for purple mountains majesty," is a verse well known to us all. Perhaps you can recall some others.
Mountains seem to attract our attention like a young boy to a mud puddle, or metal to a magnet. We don’t have to understand the nature of these things to understand the irresistible drawing power they possess. Such is the attraction of our attention at the sight of a mountain.
Some of you may have fond memories of mountains. Perhaps a childhood visit to relatives or family friends in another state, a recent camping or hunting trip, or just a Sunday afternoon drive. I personally recollect every memorable mountain experience I have had, especially these two. The first was a pre-thanksgiving dinner climb, with a dear friend, to a 2300-foot summit overlooking a 9-mile lake, in a snow-covered town, far below. The other was a solo journey to a mountain top in Pennsylvania where I found myself crying out to God concerning a burden of grief that I’d been carrying for several months. Yes, He answered my prayer that day. I came down that hill with a lighter yoke than the one I’d carried up. My mountaintop memories are great. I sincerely hope that yours are also.
The real intent behind this story is to recount the tale of another mountain man known only to a few privileged people inhabiting the Pacific Northwest. I’ve never personally met Dutch, but had the good fortune of speaking with some men that have. Dutch lived alone atop an unnamed mountain, near the Oregon coast. Not great in stature but it was ample for his needs. He shared his rustic yet comfortable, log cabin with his faithful dog Sam and several goats and chickens. No electric, running water, television or telephones encumbered the simple life that this extraordinary family shared together. Dutch referred to his sanctuary as Serenity Mountain.
Visitors were few, a random hunter or hiker were the only ones who ever saw the tranquil homestead hidden high in the trees. Occasionally one, lacking common sense or fear, would dare to knock at the hermit’s door. With a smile and a, "hey y’all," they would be offered a seat on the small rickety porch in a chair of the same attributes, fashioned from tree limbs, secured with twine and duct tape. The offer of a drink of water always followed. Short on casual talk, the old man’s testimony of his, "salvation in Jesus Christ," often sparked further conversation or would quickly send the unsolicited visitor on his way. His friends tell me that Dutch was not a mean man, he just didn’t waste any words. He once told them, the Lord gave him a limited amount of words to use and he chose to save them up for when he spoke with or about his Creator.
When asked why he chose to live alone up on that mountain, Dutch’s face would illuminate with joy, he’d grin and reply, "So I can be closer to my Father. I don’t dislike people, I just feel like I’m a lot closer to God when I’m up there on Serenity Mountain. There’s no city lights blocking the view of the stars. I feel His arms around me every time I walk among His awesome creation. The birds sing His praises day and night and are the best sleeping pill I can imagine. The animals remind me that it was God who gave us dominion over them. I’ve learned to love and appreciate them and, unless I feel that I may become part of their food chain, have no fear of them.”
It sounds wonderful, but realistically we can’t all live the way Dutch does. We can however, experience the closeness that he feels when he talks to his heavenly Father. In our kitchen, our bedroom, anywhere, He is always there and hears our every prayer.
When I’m finished this writing I need to get back to my other project. I’m building a little closet up in our attic. It’s nothing fancy really, just five sheets of wallboard and a door with no lock. It has a small table, a lamp, a chair, and a Bible in it. I’ve already hung a sign over the door. It says, "Welcome to Serenity Mountain."
Hey, y’all…care to join me?
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