During the harsh light of day, the Toadstool Hoodoos Trail is meh. But it turns magical when the sun goes down, and the moon rises.
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place—what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?Psalms 8:3-4
Hiking the Toadstool Hoodoos Trail
“According to my app,” I told the ladies in my group, “the moon should come up around the same time the sun goes down. Would anyone like to hike the Toadstool Hoodoos Trail with me to watch the moonrise?”
“Sure,” one of them said, and the others nodded.
“The trail isn’t very long,” I assured them, “less than two miles round trip.”
“Let’s do it!”
We left our camping spot and drove to the trailhead with plenty of time to hike in before sunset. A few yellow flowers bloomed along the trail, but the late afternoon sun washed out the colors of the rock and dirt formations around us. Twenty minutes later, we saw the hoodoos, thick columns of compressed sandstone with a cap of harder rock on top.
As the golden hour approached, the glare of the sun changed to a warm glow, bringing out the beautiful reds and oranges in the rocks. As the moon rose, the landscape morphed once again. The last sun-kissed rocks glowed warmly while the rest of the desert turned an otherworldly white.
The moon inched above the horizon, and the lingering colors of the sunset once again changed the landscape. The air cooled, and the earth seemed to hold its breath. Only the four of us remained at the hoodoos, and silence filled my soul.
By the time we hiked out by the full moon’s light, the landscape had taken on a dark blue hue, once again changing the nature of the desert.
Different Light, Same Desert
I couldn’t help but think about the differences the light makes in the desert and how we often think the desert is one thing based on what time of day we see it. During the day, the desert seems harsh and unforgiving. Every crevice and rock thrown into stark relief. But during the golden hours, the sun’s rays bring out the softer colors, absent the shadows. Moonlight creates its own beauty, depending on the phase of the moon.
At first, I thought deserts were ugly and not worth my notice. But over the last 35 years, we’ve spent hours hiking and driving through Utah, Arizona, and Southern California deserts. They change according to the seasons, rainfall, and location. I love them and respect them now that I understand them.
When we think about God, we often judge him based on our family of origin and the light they shared with us. Some people grow up believing in a harsh, judgmental God. One eager to highlight our faults and sins and damn us to a pit of fire if we make a mistake.
Others doubt God’s existence—he seems like a washed-out, otherworldly concept, everchanging depending on his moods. Detached from earthly concerns.
Maybe we need to spend more time considering God’s nature. If he created us in his image, he, too, must have emotions. Yet we judge God when he acts harshly (in our not-so-humble opinion). We latch on to specific characteristics and attributes we see in each other, certain they embody an omnipotent God.
God doesn’t micromanage the universe, but he has invited us into the stewardship process since creation. Stewarding his creation and stewarding our relationships with each other to reflect his loving nature. The moon has no light of its own. It simply reflects the light of the sun. We, too, have no Light in us. But if we position ourselves to reflect God’s light, love follows.
Father God, help me desire to spend time with you so that I may learn more of your character and reflect the love you offer to others. Believing in the unseen takes faith. Grow my faith.
Deserts – and hoodoos! – are beautiful in such a different way from lush forests, but still beautiful! What a great experience, and good reminder that the only light we have is what we receive from God.
Kym recently posted…Wednesday Hodgepodge – Thoughts on Beautiful Things
I never knew they were called hoodoos. 🙂 This is a great lesson, Anita, thank you for sharing it. I know I am guilty of seeing things, especially God, in only the light I’ve been given, instead of looking for my own light at a different time.
Amy recently posted…#write28days of Nervous System Regulation: Day 16 – Lonesome
When I read your title, I had no idea what a hoodoo was! Thank you for sharing your experience, Anita. And what a difference it must have looked under the softer moonlight. Amen to your prayer. May we love God so much that His light will be seen as we reflect Him to others. Blessings to you, Anita. Praying for your family. xo
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