I like aking photographs, as I’m a photographer. I love to walk into the wilds and take them there. In the business of the world it is very difficult to see myself for what I really am and likewise difficult to see Christ.
When we look at the calmness of the mountains and experience it’s solitude, we are quickly reminded of how small and insignificant we are. Like a tiny ant is to the foot of an elephant so are we when it comes to Mother Nature. Either we will not feel the weight of her foot as she has overlooked us or we will feel her full force and be squished.
It isn’t just these feelings of insignificance but it gives us also the ability to look at ourselves and how, if through our imagination, we imagine all the materialism and modern buildings or technologies were to vanish, we are left just with land and sky.
It may seem quiet up there but to a sinner like me, it’s really loud, so loud I can only stay for a little while as the noise is too much to handle. Noise? What noise? It is supposed to be quiet is it not?
It is the noise of my sins and unspiritual self that rings out like a church bell across the land because the silence forces me to look at myself. In the busy world I forget myself easily and in order to forget the self we must first forget God. We forget God because we are so wrapped up in ourselves, our work, families and pleasures of the flesh.
Therefore even though the wilderness is a quiet place in the literal sense, we suddenly are forced to hear the noise within us and so inside we have no interior silence because we have, due to our sins, lost (or yet to gain) that part of our spiritual life.
Engaging in church on Sunday, prayer and actively participating in all the Sacraments is one half of the spiritual life, but they are of no use to us unless we gain the other half which is interior silence.
We can’t just clean the outside of the bowl, we clean inside also. Taking time to stand in the desert helps us see how dirty we are. To many it looks peaceful but nature is like a wild orthodox elder who teaches us that we have a lot of noise inside of us to get rid of.