|The top rock points the way.|
When my husband and I visited the Acadia National Park Visitors Center, informational placards lined the uphill walkway from the parking lot to the building. Of course, I had to read them all. Not only because I needed to catch my breath from climbing the hundred-plus steps, either. Maybe it’s the teacher in me. Or my insatiable curiosity. Or both.
Since Dean’s impatience at my frequent stops was starting to show (and it was only the beginning of the day), I took pictures of the placards so I could read them later in the evening when he was asleep in his recliner.
But the cairns intrigued me, and I took my sweet time at each of them.
A cairn is a stone structure built to point the way on a trail. Although cairns come in various shapes and sizes, the ones at Acadia were no more than 18 inches high and were built with four or six large stones: two or four large, square ones on the bottom with one large, rectangular stone spanning them, and a smaller, triangular-shaped one on top, with the tip pointing the direction of the trail.
“Cairns are carefully built and placed to point the way,” one placard read. “When trail blazes are hidden by fog or snow, cairns are essential,” said another.
Another placard warned of tampering with the cairns: “Do not build new cairns or add to existing cairns – you may confuse or endanger hikers.”
Back at the camper, I googled “cairns” to find out more about them. Trail marks in North America, I learned, are often called “ducks” or “duckies” because the point of the top rock resembles a duck’s beak. “The expression ‘two rocks don’t make a duck’ reminds hikers that just one rock resting on another could be the result of accident or nature rather than intentional trail marking.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairn)
Like a path in the woods, the trail of life can be confusing at times, too. The fog of indecision, the snow of fear about the results of our choices may hide the direction we are to go. Sometimes all the paths look good – or bad.
Right now I’m wrestling with a decision of whether or not to proceed with the project of publishing a third book of meditations – compilations of this column. Since I self-publish, the cost upfront comes out of my pocket. I’ve started two or three times to put the book together since my last compilation came out in 2002. But each time I backed out because of finances.
But several people have asked me about a third book.
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you,” the Bible tells us in James 1:5 (NLT).
And again: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5, 6 NLT).
God’s cairns are there for the asking. But sometimes we don’t recognize them because, like me, we don’t know what they are.
But when we do, we see that He’s placed them at every point we need direction. We just need eyes to see the duck.
Give me the spiritual sight to see and recognize the cairns You’ve placed along my life’s path, O Lord. Amen.
Special-Tea: Exodus 13:21,22