T "I will lift up my eyes to the hills
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord
Who made heaven and earth."
I have come so far, to sit and look. We arrived at our little dirt road - "Hodsdon Shore Road" - that winds a mile down hills, around turns, beside the River Pine, until it reaches the little community of Hodsdon Shore: old summer "camps" as we say in NH, a tumbling shed, a brand new miniature house, looking like a picture book, then Selectman Harry Mersow's new (20 years) house and door-yard, where the road turns sharp left into the swamp and continues, after you've spied the yellow board buildings of the Clark compound, three yellow, looking down at the lake, then two grays, for cars, storage, and loft. You pass the Stevens' tin garage, and refurbished white clapboard cottage, and then the Rouner's old boat house, and the newly-painted Rouner's camp where I grew up as a small boy and a third generation of our family carefully rents out and comes early and late to preside and care for and remembers her own childhood there.
Then my sister's house, passed on to a God-daughter from England, working "slowly-by-slowly" on expansion. And then, our "Tamarack Lodge," which Molly and I have built and rebuilt, a cozy collection of three wood-stained clapboard buildings with a "farmer's porch" and three gabled windows facing the woods and road, and a glassed-in study looking south from the second floor, where sliding-glass doors look out over wood-railed balcony toward the lake, while below a wide-railed deck joins this house to "The Gallery," and the first simple addition where four bedrooms accommodate family and other visitors. The aging seniors are there too, confined to the first floor, and enjoying the relief at night of the only air-conditioner.
Sunrise there, wakes us directly every morning. Up a gravel path is a hand-built garage, designed to accommodate three single racing shells on one wall, a canoe, and a sleek black Camero convertible that rests the winters there and drives slowly to town and nearby villages, and for years to mountain trail-heads where man and dog climbed high "The Whites" each summer.
It all is different now. We come with the same heart and eagerness but with the now slowed step of the years, managing the canoe to paddle the Pine a few days each week, and sometimes one of the two remaining shells. The cool waters still call for a short swim in shallow water.
But now, more and more, it's a study chair on the deck alone, looking long, through our own forest of trees to the lake, where others, young and strong, come to play on these blue waters. Power boats dash about, leaving foamy wakes behind. A few large party boats cruise the lake, drinking in all they see, and, at certain times a day a kayak goes by, or a canoe, and far in the distance, a sailboat, catching the breezes of this lovely lake.
Directly across are the Freedom Hills, a long range from north to south. At that end Green Mountain rises above beautiful "Long Sands" shore.
Clusters of boats hug the shore north of us, with cabins - many of them year-round homes, spreading out to Tadewan Point where "Weetamoe" the Cambridge Girl Scout camp used to be. Beyond, to the north, another camp and cottages, even camps for young people, and retreat centers like Calumet, owned and operated by the Lutherans.
Behind them are the ranges: the nearby Ossipees, and back of them, the Sandwich Range, with Whiteface, Passaconway, Wonalancet, Paugus, crowned by stark and beautiful Mt Chocorua. Finally, following the eastern slopes, are the high Presidentials, dominated by mighty Mt. Washington, highest peak east of the Mississippi and north of the Carolinas, where weather changes in an instant, and the highest wind velocity on earth was recorded at 230 miles per hour.
We love it. Look to it. Dare to climb it, to see the farthest view of all - to Portland, and the Atlantic, 100 miles away.
For me, now is the time in life to "lift up my eyes to the hills" and try to see and sense what God is saying to me. And, if He doesn't speak loud and clear, I can just stop, and listen. And, try to look hard at what's before me, and just wait for what God calls to mind - in my mind.
Here, at Ossipee, I can see how everlasting are the hills, and how, despite the wearing away of their trails and peaks, the wonderful forms stay the same. And though I, like the world around me, am ever-changing, there is a core, down deep, that is somehow what my true self has always been: naive, simple, loving Jesus.
I need to honor that, and be whom He wants me to be, and, has made me to be.
For I am surer now, and I can rest much easier in things that once seemed complicated and abstract, and maybe not needed.
Now, I know I need them - desperately, deeply. And, as I see them for once, at last, in their wholeness and depth, I rejoice, and thank my Lord that it is so.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
|Arthur Rouner Ministries||
ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES