The Yosemite Prayer

On one of my favorite trips to Yosemite, I sat with friends on the outdoor patio at the Ahwahnee Lodge. I was so broke back then, all I could afford there was a frosty beverage. I had a strawberry daiquiri, one of the very few rum drinks I like. It had a big fat perfect strawberry on the rim. There was a sign on the table advising people not to feed the squirrels and chipmunks because they could be infected with the plague. I was more than mildly disturbed as I saw tourists from Japan coaxing a chipmunk on to their table with a piece of soda cracker.

Yes, I did go over and tell them the dangers, waving the sign around to keep the potentially deadly rodent at bay. I’m sure that was gratitude in their expressions. That whole incident reinforced my near phobic reaction to animals behaving unnaturally. I don’t want to see wild animals acting tame and I don’t want to see domesticated animals acting wild. A hand fed chipmunk at Yosemite and a feral cat give me the same kind of heebie jeebies.

None of that has anything to do with the Yosemite Prayer. My ADD is acting up because of a jelly bean high.

The Yosemite Prayer is usually wordless. It is breath. It is that whoosh of a breath when you are confronted with God’s awesomeness. And that happens to me every single time I visit Yosemite. I saw my daughter give this prayer when she was two years old and I took her to the ocean for the first time. She ran to the expanse of blue, came to a dead stop and took herself in a hug along with that whoosh of a breath.

It is not a prayer just for awesome works of nature, but for those moments when God’s amazing-ness whacks you upside the head.

It is the prayer that is breathed as you round the bend  and God’s awesomeness, his hugeness, his mystery and wonder are all right there out in the open.