August 14, 2012
Ellen and I are away for a week on vacation. We are pursuing a hobby that we began a few years ago… searching for and taking pictures of Covered Bridges. We have blanketed several counties in Pennsylvania and one in Ohio since we began this adventure. Several months before my father died in October of 2002 he told me he would like to take pictures of covered bridges; he was an amateur photographer of sorts. I knew his declining health would preclude that possibility but I told him I would be happy to accompany him when he was ready. He never recovered his health. A year after his death I decided to make a notebook of covered bridge pictures for my stepmother for Christmas; pictures my father would have taken had he been able. Well, wouldn’t you know, Ellen and I discovered that we enjoyed traipsing around the country side together looking for these elusive bridges… sometimes in WAY out of the way locations.
FYI There are over 200 covered bridges in PA, more than any other state in the country. At one time there were over 1500. Lancaster County has the most bridges with 28 and Washington County is 2nd.
Yesterday we spent the better part of the day driving over 200 miles around Perry County, PA (north west of Harrisburg) looking for 12 bridges. Today we travelled over the northern portion of Columbia county (near Danville, PA) searching for 11 bridges and we will conclude the southern part of the County tomorrow. As I mentioned, some of these spans are in very remote areas. We saw several odd looking young boys playing banjoes on their front porches today if that means anything. We also figured out how the trailer industry stays in business! We passed literally thousands of acres of corn. Do you know how much corn is produced in the U.S. each year? About 12.1 Billion bushels… that’s a lot of corn! Just an aside… we also raise over 8 billion chickens!!
Yesterday and today I was struck by the beauty of God’s creation. I have travelled across Pennsylvania numerous times on Rt. 80 and on the PA Turnpike but frankly I have not really seen much off of either of those roads. Today I saw the beauty of central and north central PA for the first time… it was breathtaking; the mountains and the greenery… not to mention many, many spectacular wooded streams. We put another 200 miles on our car following our GPS from one isolated bridge to the next. Honestly, neither Ellen nor I know exactly where we have been (the down side of a GPS) but we were awe struck on several occasions.
I believe that God is the creator of all things (well almost all things but that’s a theological issue for another time), but I can’t really imagine the creative process, can you? I mean did God have to “think” all of these things up? Mountains, water, trees, all variety of plants, all kinds of animals… Or did they just effortlessly flow out of His Being? I don’t know. Was it hard? God had to rest after 6 days of all that so I guess it wasn’t like falling off of a log. I just know it’s beautiful! I don’t know if I would have seen these things 30 years ago… or cared. But yesterday and today… God’s world was memorable. Being with the one that I love, alone and searching through the back roads of PA… does it get any better? I just know that it’s way more than I deserve!
Psalm 96:13 Let all creation rejoice before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.