The Blessedness of Friendship

"I count myself in nothing else so happy as in a soul rememb'ring my good friends."
William Shakespeare

     Winding up the mountain road, praise music reverberated through the car as we beheld His majestic creation.  Strong boulders piled in formation, one atop the other stretched across the mountainside.  My friend exclaimed from the back seat, "Look, it's the cloud of witnesses."  Her description of the pillared boulders.  Others had already been named by the park service--"The Seven Cataracts"; "The Hoo-Doos".  Her nomination  seemed more appropriate for the rocks hand carved by the Creator.
     Clouds twirled through the sky like cotton candy tufts as we climbed our way to "Windy Vista."  Until that day, this scenic point had been just a place to stop and gaze at the canyon below, standing safely behind the parking lot guard rail.  But the "call of the wild" and the cool breeze mingled with the camaraderie of friendship beckoned us to venture forth across the jagged, rocky trails that jutted over canyon walls.  
Jon and Julie
      In the 23 years that we have known Jon and Julie, I cannot remember hiking anywhere with them except through a shopping mall (and that with only Julie) or Disneyland, toting our kids behind.  This became a new
adventure for the four of us: Hubby, me, and our friends, visiting from California.  (read more about friendship and see more photos here)
     The groundwork began months ago when I purchased 4 tickets to ride the ski lift at Mt. Lemmon.  I did not realize at the time that I would be using these tickets with our friends.  It was one of those online 50% off deals that sounded like a great way to escape the desert heat and rest among the cool pine trees.  Then Julie called and said she would visit in October.  As the time drew near, the plans began to formulate.
     As we climbed from the base of the mountain at around 3000 feet to the pine and aspen forest crowning the peak at 9200 feet, our friends marveled at the changing scenery and the dropping temperature.  Views changed from a sprawling desert to mounded boulders and green outcroppings, and finally ended among the  skyward-reaching pines at a temperature more than 20 degrees cooler from where we started.  And all of this in 27 miles.

     A brisk fall chill filled the air when we reached our destination.  We snuggled into our sweatshirts and boarded the ski lift.  The silence engulfed us as we hung above a pastoral setting of rolling greens hills and fall colored ferns.  Peace washed over us and we were lost in the moments of unspeakable beauty.  I rested my head against Hubby's shoulder, and when I looked up I saw Julie leaning on Jon.
Ski Valley Chair Lift
      Time stood still.  Silence and resting our language.  We spoke briefly at the top of the lift until we boarded to proceed back down the mountain.  If only there was a way to freeze frame that moment, to lasso the peace, to be immersed eternally in the wonder.

     We disembarked from the lift and crossed the street for a highly recommended meal in a cabin-like restaurant with a window view that captured the clouds moving rapidly across the mountain.  We talked as old-time friends hands wrapped around warm cider-filled mugs. Halfway through our meal, we saw the blustery weather begin.  Misty strands of clouds blew pass the window and then the whole mountain was covered in windy gray fog.

     The day had been magical.  We emerged from the restaurant to a wintry temperature of 41 degrees.  From air conditioning to heat.  From desert to forest.  From an adventure to a God-sculpted memory with lifetime friends.

The Wintry Weather Blows In

     For these blessings I give you thanks and praise, Oh Lord:

     271) for lifelong friends who giggle and cry with you; who stand beside you in difficulties, who celebrate with you in seasons of joy
     272) for good food shared with friends
     273) for long talks, games, and inspiring movies shared with friends
     274) for the ski lift ride--a double joy when shared
     275) for the out-of-this-world Rhubarb, raspberry, blueberry pie homemade on Mt. Lemmon
     276) for the hospitality of the people who worked in the restaurant
     277) for scrumptious fudge made by the person who ran the sweet shop
     278) for the blustery winter weather that had a mystical touch
     279) for another opportunity to praise You, Lord for your creation
     280) for boulder formations on the mountain
     281) for a week long Fall break
     282) for a job to return to
     283) for a clean house
     284) for a family that helped in cleaning and scrubbing and decorating
     285) for a newly varnished door
     286) for autumn followers in pots

"A friend loves at all times" Proverbs 17:17a NIV

Linking up with the Gratitude Community at Ann Voskamp's
holy experience

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