For Purple Mountains’ Majesty: Dancing With the Muse

God has, in fact, written two books, not just one. Of course, we are all familiar with the first book he wrote, namely Scripture. But he has written a second book called creation.” – Lord Francis Bacon

It’s Spring outside my window today – my favorite time of year. Leaves are unfurled, lilac bushes and tulips are blooming. The garden is going in today. Frigid winter has given way to life and warmth. The lawn is a thick emerald green. The Boise front range has shed most of its snow, revealing scrubby desert hills and above, forested slopes. Spring captivates me with its charm and beauty.  

I hope to be out of my head and the house soon and under the blue sky but first the Muse beckons me. We dance as I consider purple mountains’ majesty and the existence of a second book. Stuff like that. Relax. This isn’t a religious piece though it refers to my values and beliefs. It’s spiritual like America the Beautiful.

Katherine Lee Bates, inspired atop of Pikes Peak to write what became our national anthem, said, “I was looking out over the sea-like expanse of fertile country spreading away so far under those ample skies, the opening lines of the hymn floated into my mind.” There’s a communion between souls and natural beauty (or should be). She like Bacon above was referring to a second book. I love that book.

Our old house’s front window faced east. On a hot summer day (in the good-old-days when forests held their moisture and before wildland fire was ubiquitous), I loved to watch thunderheads taking on the colors of deep bruises and smoke. They piled up high over the Sierra Nevada until flashes of lightning were hurled to the ground, striking the mountains below, sounding like the gods a-bowling in the heavens.

I couldn’t (and still don’t) understand how anyone could see such earthly evidence and doubt God’s existence. No, when I see His glory in creation I want to go full-on Julie Andrews, arms flung wide and singing in full-throated praise. This beauty is beyond physical. It’s spiritual.

Nature testifies to the connection between the natural world and its Creator. Attributing all of this to a random, serendipitous big-bang event is the longest of stretches. And though my understanding of His logistics is incomplete, faith is the evidence of things not seen. I don’t need to figure it out. Whether I believe in creation over a literal seven days or over millions of years, it doesn’t matter.

Day one was as black as could be. No matter, no substance. Darkness, water everywhere. Inside the waters it was cold. Thick. Oppressive. Suddenly a flash of pure white light pierced the depths and all that was hidden was evident. There was day and night.

On the second day God made sky. He fashioned two vast reservoirs of water – one above and one below – both completely linked by the hydrologic cycle and responsible for weather (temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, precipitation, and winds) and climate (seasons of weather), neither static.

On the third day waters were separated from the land. Dry land emerged and in a flash or over time He carved out a Grand Canyon. The Tetons, the Sierra Nevada, the Great Smokies, the sandy beaches and rugged coastlines were perfected. The Great Basin was unveiled. The Great Central Valley and Yosemite too. The Olympic Rainforest was called forth, as was the steamy swamps of the South. But He wasn’t finished.

That same day He covered mountains and meadows with native grasses and flowering plants that sowed seed. Western and Slender/Bearded, Sedge, Wildrye, Onion, and Fescue grasses. Buffalo grass, Prairie Dropseed, and Indian grasses. Sagebrush, Bottlebrush, ferns, and oaks. Redwoods, cedars, and pines. Morning Glories, lilacs, poppies, wild roses, and more.

In different shapes, sizes, and colors He assigned plants to sprout from the land according to climates and seasons. Like stars for the sky, He strung these jewels on trees and plants: huckleberries, blackberries, peaches, apples, lemons, oranges, grapes, and plums. Glorious.

The fourth day He strung the night and day with light for warmth and sight: the blazing sun for day and a luminous moon and twinkling stars for night. His sun warmed frosty mountain meadows and heated desert sands on a winters day. He flung the stars across the sky, creating the brilliant Milky Way across the broad universe.

On the fifth day He created things that swam, things that flew. Salmon and steelhead, the mighty killer whale and the tiny grunion. Who can see fish spawn and listen to the chirps and chatter of whales or dolphins, who can watch an eagle wheel through the sky and deny the existence of the Creator? Not I.

Or the sixth day He created animals. The bugle of an elk, the whinny of a horse, the taste if a ribeye steak or bacon bear witness to His creativity. The awesome strengthy of a Grizzly Bear, the speed of an antelope across the plain, the power in a wolf’s jaw, the mass of a buffalo, the sinuosity of a snake, and the high lonesome yips of a coyote speak to our souls.

No less a marvel was His creation of man, both male and female. To find a mate and share a life – this is profound and miraculous. To watch a pregnant woman’s belly swell, to see a newborn seek his mother’s eyes as he nurses, to see baby fat give way to lean, sure limbs, to hear a young man’s voice crack, and a girl becoming a woman is profound. Adult emerging from the cocoon of a child. These cannot be random.

On the seventh day he stopped to rest and said it was good, all good. It was and it is. Everything is connected by a silver cord to our Creator. Everything created gives testimony to a God.

That the God of the universe would choose to imagine and create all of this is beyond overwhelming when I stop to ponder its breadth and magnificence. That some attribute everything to a random explosion of matter and the process of evolution, I will never understand.

The first book – Scripture – (Romans 1:20) says that “His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature “have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world”. Before I go outside today, I pause to think about the second book which is evident and manifested in everything He made.

I feel, see, hear, taste, and touch His creative power within these things everywhere, but especially in the majesty of purple mountains. I contemplate their beauty as I marvel at just how good it is. My heart and spirit pause to drink in His majesty. And the Muse and I dance.


  1. Reading your description of the creation story reminded me of a song we used to sing in church. Sadly it escapes me as to whether it was part of the Midnight Mass at Christmas or the Easter vigil service.

    No matter. Thanks for that memory!


    1. It was a really fun thing to write. Thanks, friend! And you’re right. Where you heard it doesn’t matter. I think that we heard it at all links us with each other and Someone much bigger and far wiser. That we’re pleasing Him by paying close attention to that second book!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s