There are times when I feel I am much closer to God.
That is when I walked in the wilderness, climbed mountains, facing an open sea or hiking alone.
Footprints Also Known As “I Had a Dream”
One night I dreamed a dream. I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to my Lord.
When the last scene of my life shot before me I looked back at the footprints in the sand. There was only one set of footprints. I realized that this was at the lowest and saddest times of my life. This always bothered me and I questioned the Lord about my dilemma.
“Lord, You told me when I decided to follow You, You would walk and talk with me all the way. But I’m aware that during the most troublesome times of my life there is only one set of footprints. I just don’t understand why, when I need You most, You leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you, never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.”
Margaret Fishback Powers, 1964
The picture was taken by my wife while travelling in a desert in Utah, maybe, it would be more appropriate if the picture was taken on a beach.
How often do we think that we have to endure in our travels?
Long distance travelling, in particular, requires a lot of endurance.
Even before we reach our destination, to mention a few, we have to endure:
*Queuing for checking in and security checks at the airport.
*Getting through immigration.
*Long hours of flight with cramped seats, not much sleep and unstable cabin temperatures and humidity.
*Getting in and out of airports.
*Sleepless nights in hotels with unfamiliar conditions / beds.
Even when we actually reach our destination, depending on where we go and how we want to do our travelling, we may need to be persistent.
The following photos were taken by my wife while they were travelling earlier this year in the United Sates. This was part of their 5400 Miles Travel in the USA – an earlier series which I have published and which will be continued when I have the time / mood to go back to it.
The second photo shows them walking in the South Western part of the States, among a strange landscape.
Some people like to endure, Hans always like to choose the most difficult route in the National Parks.
So, I suppose part of the endurance was self inflicted!
I wasn’t sure whether this is a photo for this week’s WPC Challenge – Contrast or forming part of this series documenting my wife’s 1.5 months travel in the Southwest of the States.
It shows my brother-in law and sister-in-law on top of a sand dune.
There is a lot of contrast there:-
the contrast in color between the leeward and windward side of the dune
the contrast between the mountain and the desert
the contrast between the sky and the landforms
the contrast between the vastness of the area and just two people on top of the dune.
I am glad that my wife’s picture sometimes include people into landscape picture. I have always tried to avoid it; but this inspires me that sometime including people into the picture adds a lot of interest into the image!
Sunset and sunrise are perhaps the most beautiful moment – especially if you are in the desert.
From the picture, you can feel that the sun was still hot as it was exerting its last rays of light.
The sand on the ground has formed ripples as wind blew across the desert.
There was not much of signs of life, except in the distance, one man was walking away hurriedly.
There was complete silence in the area as the day was coming to a close.
On China’s northern edge there is a territory that combines the wonder of the desert and the beauty of the grasslands for an experience that will take your breath away; this autonomous region is known as Inner Mongolia. Inner Mongolia’s vastness maintains a feeling of timeless tranquility unlike anywhere experienced in China.
As a city boy, I have never visited any grassland or desert; have seen some small grottoes but never visited any major one or any temple like the Hanging Temple. June and July are the best time visiting the steppes of Inner Mongolia when the grass is green; but it may be too hot in the desert. As a compromise, we started our trip end August 2012 and found ourselves in the grassland in the early part of September.
I was always fascinated with the story of Genghis Khan; how, in 25 years, he had conquered an area even larger than the Romans were able to conquer in 400 years. This is the land where he once roamed and lived. He was good in strategies, did not have a hugh army (maybe only around 100,000 soldiers) but his speed of moving his army around in Mongul horses, his tatics and his well planned sieges allowed him to conquer a large part of Asia and even part of Europe.
In our last trip, we were able to fulfill our dreams by combining all these into one trip which included:
Our trip started with first flying to Beijing where we changed plane to Hohhot of Inner Mongolia. Using Hohhot as a base, we visited the Steppes in Gegent Tala, the Resonant Sand desert near Baotao. From there we travelled 8 hours on a coach to DaTong, Shanxi where we had a good look of the Yungang Grottoes and the Hanging Temple which was part of the Hen Mountains in China. From Da Tong, we flew to Beijing to complete our journey.
We learned more about Genghis Kahn and started digging deeper into his history and as to where his burial place is (still unknown and being investigated by National Geographic and other bodies).
It was indeed an eye opening journey. We were totally impressed by what we saw .