Life from the Lava Lands

Lava Land Visitors CenterThe Pacific Northwest is a magnificent region of America, but I hadn’t realized that Oregon is such a popular tourist destination until I wrote about our reunion. IMG_9890One friend wrote immediately to tell me that her brother lives in Bend, and they visit annually because there’s no end of recreational possibilities. Family Reunion I have an in-law niece whose family is going to Bend next summer for a reunion. Crater Lake. Heather CushmanA week after we returned, I discovered that a cousin’s family had just celebrated with her family at a reunion in Oregon. (In this picture, they’re at Crater Lake.) White water rafting. Andrea Lang The following week I saw pictures on Facebook of friends who’d been white water rafting on Oregon’s Rogue River!  Black Butte All this to say, what was yesteryear’s disaster can become tomorrow’s delight! DSCN5220The Newberry Volcano that erupted thousands of years ago extinguished every trace of life under an avalanche of lava and ash. Ground squirrels in OR When my sister moved from Oregon’s fertile coast land to Bend, she exchanged her beloved bed of roses for a rock garden, lamenting that earth encrusted with glass-like lava precludes the possibility of maintaining lush greenery. DSCN5215 And, this proved true as we wound our way through Lava Lands Visitor Center View from Lava Butte and drove to the top of Lava Butte. DSCN5216 However, the children kept noticing that here and there amidst the barrenness Currants there were bushes full of translucent red berries that looked like currants. DSCN5244 Some flower charts along the trail confirmed our hopes.DSCN5239 The berries were not only edible, they’d been an important ingredient in making Bierstadt_Albert_Oregon_Trail pemmican, which helped pioneers survive as they toiled along the Oregon Trail during the westward expansion of America during the 1800s. Jon and Ame at Deschutes River (Come to think of it, Oregon has been a popular “tourist” destination ever since explorers and trappers discovered it centuries ago! 🙂  )Reid testing a currant berryAt any rate, it thrilled me to discover that God used this desolate wilderness to help support life. (Even Reid liked the berries.)lava-butte-bend. OR Tour and Travel AllianceI don’t know about you, but I’ve had some volcanic eruptions in my life Dry root systemthat left me so devastated I didn’t know if I’d ever survive or recover. DSCN6082Nevertheless, like this tenacious old pine, God can bring us through OR blue wildflowers and cause us to bloom again. Lava Land flowers We might never be a world-class rose garden… Lava Land wildflowersbut God can bring beauty and help support life from the ashes if we’ll let Him.

“O Lord, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field” (Joel 1:19).

“Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me, with all your heart, and  with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.”
(Joel 2:12-13)

“Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.”
(Joel 2:29)

(Photo Credits: Picture of Crater Lake, by Heather C.; Picture of Rogue River by Andrea L.; painting of the Oregon Trail by Albert Bierstadt; aerial photograph of Lava Butte by Oregon Tour and Travel Alliance; I took the rest.)

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