Sixty years ago, what little faith I had left at the time
completely evaporated!


    I was pastor of a lovely New England church at the time.  As a pastor in the New England Conference of The Methodist Church, I was set for life!  One Sunday morning I was preaching to the congregation when I suddenly heard myself say to myself, "Jack, you don't believe what you just said!"  I knew instantly that it was time to quit. The following Sunday I resigned and said a very sad, "Goodbye." It wasn't easy!  It meant that instantly I had no job, no income, no house to live in.

    When layer after layer after layer of the dust all settled,  I found myself teaching English in a tiny little high school of 44 students on the eastern edge of the Gabbs Desert in Nevada.  I had a lot of time to think.  With the vast Gabbs Desert to the west and the Rocky Mountains to the east I began to feel like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob must have felt when they worshipped El Shaddai, the god of the mountains.  I began to find myself lifting myself up to the mountain peaks.

    Although my faith in any kind of super being was gone,  I still had this strange yearning to reach out to something - to worship  something.  While I was there in Nevada, the mountains were enough.  On weekends I would get up early in the morning and try to fly high enough to get into the sunlight.  The mountain rose so steeply on the west side of the old airstrip there, that you could take off in the shadow of the mountain and climb up into the sunlight.  The sensation was one of total, pure AWE

Over the half century since then, my worship expanded from mountains
 to clouds, to the moon, and eventually to trees.
These are the things that our primitive ancestors worshipped!!
I liked that!!

--No Faith  Required--

    Over the years it was trees that satisfied most.  [I know it's getting late to make a long story short- sorry.]  I slowly and gradually became what I would call  a dendrolatrist, one who worships trees. [Since the word doesn't yet exist, I appoint myself as Pope, Lord of the Trees.] 

    Before Mae sold my motorcycle out from under me,  I always ended my daily ride at the Scotland Run  Arboretum. There was one tree there that never failed to create the sense of awe that I craved.  It was a towering Spanish Oak.  Tom knew how much that tree meant to me, so for my 79th birthday Tom went out there before sunrise and again at sunset to take pictures of the tree from every angle. 

    I loved the pictures so much that I turned them into a Ken Burns type slideshow.  My favorite piece of music is the movingly worshipful Adagio by Thomaso Albinoni.  It was no surprise to me that the pictures  and the music were meant for each other.  The next time you're alone and feel the urge to worship- to go to another place and time- click the link below. It takes only ten minutes.

Scotland Run 00

    For those of you who would like the meditation to last a little longer and the pictures to move a little slower,  I made a version that adds a short concerto by Albinoni and runs about fifteen minutes.

Scotland Run 01

[If you would like to enjoy these pictures in their full resolution and color depth rather than the greatly diminished YouTube versions,  I can EMail them to you.]