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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Personal Peace (06/01/06)

TITLE: More Than These
By Maxx .


Valleys, filled with bristlecone and red fir, plunge between frosted peaks. Granite boulders huddle throughout, statuesque clergy in a sanctuary of green. The liturgy of a waterfall murmurs about the precipice where I rest. Below, a river, silver and delicate, meanders toward eternity. I pause, breath deferent, body tingling. The vivacity of Devine inspiration enfolds me.

Along the ridgeline, shafts of gold ascend from the east, streaking a sky of cerulean. The last remnants of darkness flee before the onset of a new dawn. Flowers preen and open, converting bowed heads to glorifying faces. Tendrils of mist stretch past mountain shadows, and rise like praising hands, palms heavenward in unending devotion. I mirror them, pulse quickening, and inhale. Slow. Deep. My lungs are cooled by cleansing air, crisp and saturated with dew.

“Manna.” The word tumbles, an audible meditation, as my tongue savors the wetness. Satisfaction fills me.

He rained down manna upon them to eat. And gave them food from heaven.

I scale an outcrop, fingers wedged into solid stone. Focus, concentration, attention. Precision in every detail. An image, yellowed and distant, wafts across the canvas of my mind. My father had powerful arms, a sure grip. He used to hoist me onto his back. I pretended to be flying, breaking the bounds of earth. He died when I was seven. My body is slick with effort as I pull myself over the crest. Laughter consumes me. Now I’m flying on my Father’s shoulders, defying gravity in His arms. And death will never separate us. I’ve been doubly blessed.

Mountain hemlocks grow stunted by the altitude, twisted by savaging winds. I touch a trunk more than twenty generations old, scarred and withered before my ancestors’ ancestors were conceived. The bark is thick, branches gnarled, needles rugged. The tree is life and survival. It sways, a regal wave to the scrub and lichen about its throne. Ageless, timeless, steadfast. A kernel of understanding takes root. I am a vapor.

“Truth endures.” My prayer is reverent and full. Humility bathes me.

and I saw every work of God, I concluded that man cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun.

On a bough, perched above a thousand miles of wilderness, a mourning dove cries. Her plaintive voice a melancholy lament. The sound echoes in the crevasses and canyons, followed by silence. The creature looks about, and calls again. No reply. I approach. Clouds are reflected in the wetness the sheens its eye. For a moment it watches me. Then, in a resigned motion, it falls. I gasp and lunge to catch the bird. It disappears, opening gray wings and vanishing into uncertainty. I am crippled by a pressing weight.

I start to weep.

“Sacrificial love.” My memory is soiled by guilt. Unworthiness haunts me.

and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”

A fragrance moves on the breeze, soft, inviting. I stumble forward to a solitary wash overflowing with open lilies and rich grasses. Splendorous colors arc and sway, each moving as the draft wills. Their combined motion is a genuflecting crowd in awe before the Lord of Lords. Royal robes and fine jewelry can’t adorn them in more spectacular apparel. Their perfume is incense lifted to the heavens, a holy sacrifice burning on an alter of stone. I’m led to be a part of the offering.

I wade into the midst of my brothers, inhaling a sacred essence. I stroke petals of red, purple, and gold, feel leaves soft against my flesh. Near-perfection refined in a fallen world. My spirit surges. An epiphany.

“Am I not loved more than these?” I choke on the thought, the acceptance of truth. “Forgiven by the God of all nature through His blessed son?”

Creation resonates His reply.

“Savior!” I fall to my knees in fervent prayer. Peace fills me.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; … and His name will be called Prince of Peace.

Psalms 78:24 NASB
Ecclesiastes 8:17 NASB
Luke 3:22 NASB
Isaiah 9:6 NASB

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This article has been read 1558 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Al Boyce06/09/06
Good, vivid descriptions. I was a little confused by the father who died and where this was set -- a real place or heaven or somewhere in between? Good job!
God bless
Helen Paynter06/09/06
Some rich fare in here, but I must confess to finding the total of it somewhat indigestible. Somehow I had trouble following the unfolding story. It's probably just me - murkily, I grasped there is probably something great here.
Pat Guy 06/12/06
The essence of this piece is inspiring and delicately beautiful.

The format weaves the different 'aha' times together well.

There are just too many deep words to follow and absorb. That's all.
Jan Ackerson 06/12/06
I read this three times, and gleaned new meanings from it every time. That's the great thing about your writing; even when it's difficult, it's a pleasure to read. (Did you mean "divine?") I especially liked the flying with father/Father bit.
Joanne Malley06/12/06
You do possess a fabulous vocabulary and writing skills, however, I felt your word choices detracted from the piece making it difficult for the reader to "get into it." I felt like I was reading an article with vocabulary words on steroids! LOL I struggled to continue reading and I didn't feel it flowed smoothly. I kept trying to stay with it as my mind desperately tried to retain what I read from the previous sentence. (Maybe it's me. I can be a confused, crazy broad sometimes! LOL). Sometimes, less is more. However, a very poetic flair is evident! I can't nitpick your vocabulary. You do know your Webster's dictionary - that's for sure. Blessings, Jo
Crista Darr06/12/06
This reads like a divine dream. It is a piece that should not be read quickly, but like poetry - savoring the beauty and meaning of each line. Only then was I able to join you in this exquisite journey home.
Amy Michelle Wiley 06/13/06
I seem to remember someone teasting me and asking if I was trying to find the most unusual words I could... ;-)

All teasing aside, though, this is beautiful and certianly does need to be read slowly to be savored. I also feel I missed some of it, and was at a loss to discover the location, but did glean much. It is rich in peace.
dub W06/13/06
A prose poem, you write with the skill and natural poetic flow of the old masters.
Rita Garcia06/13/06
I read, and then had to slow down and reread, savoring the message woven throughout. Masterpiece.
Anita Neuman06/13/06
It's beautiful, lyrical - but I don't get it. Sorry. I'm lost as to the setting and who the character is.
Debbie OConnor06/13/06
When I read this I see an encounter with the God of all creation, who loves his people more than all the magnificence of nature. I think it is beautiful.

Genuflecting? :-) I had to look it up! But there's nothing wrong with expanding my vocab either.

Thanks. This blessed me.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz06/14/06
I really enjoyed this. When I read your stuff it makes me slow down and think. I love your short, clipped sentences that pack such a powerful message in each.
Trina Courtenay06/14/06
Maxx I don't care how pumped up your vocab is I love your work.

Sherry Wendling06/15/06
Dub's right; it feels like poetry in prose! I return over and over to drink the richness of the experience, to feel God's presence in every captivating detail. Your spirit responds to the clear revelation of His love through the creation, and the overflow of word-colors on your canvas is, perhaps, simply a way of expressing sheer awe.
Jessica Schmit07/22/06
I'm back! Sorry it's been so long.

Where to begin. Well, first I'd like to say that you write like a legend. Your talent surpasses anything I've read on this site and I believe that if you get the chance to break out into the publishing world you go go down into history as one of the greatest writers of all time.

Now, let's see if I can "get" this piece. It holds a lot. First, I loved how you pointed to Creation as an everyday symbol of redemption, love and sacrifice. I lost count how many referances you used that dealt with some aspect of Creation. Beautiful. Also, you used the description of different aspects of Creation to decribe how life works. The innocence and beauty of a new life, the turmoil and pain one experiacnes as he makes his way through the world and then the redemption he experaicnes through Christ. Perfectly on topic. This was defiantely a work of art and I loved how my brain hurt after reading it a few times. Congrats Master!