Day of Fasting and Solitude

Wednesday, August 30, 1989

Morning on Lower Jackass Lake

I slept pretty well, having somewhat accommodated to the routine of sleeping on my back a few minutes, then when it gets achy, rolling to my right side. Then my knees get achy and I roll back to my back. It's not great, but I'm coping.

I woke probably an hour before daylight and watched the beautiful sky. When the eastern sky was lighted and pink, I got up and went down to the lake for a sponge bath. There is a nice flat rock about 6 inches out of the water. We dubbed it "bathtub rock".The water was warmer than I expected and this was a unique experience. The beautiful early morning, quiet with nobody else up, the rock cliffs and trees across the lake mirrored in the water, the pink sky to the east.

The valley was filled with a slightly blue haze. The forested valley seemed magical just before sunrise.

Ankie and I had been chosen as leaders for the day and we had been told that we would not be eating breakfast there and should clean up the kitchen site. Assuming that meant we were heading out before breakfast, we went through all the motions of cleanup and packing up.

Jeff, Mark, Bobbi Ann and Peter at our early morning meeting site.

Bobbi Ann called us to a meeting and broke the news to us that the reason we would not be eating breakfast here is because this was "solo day" and we would be fasting. Each of us was to be assigned an area with specified boundaries to be in solitude an silence. We were to take our water bottle, clothing, Bible and journal, sun block. Peter and Bobbi Ann would replenish our water late in the day and would come get us to bring us back to camp before noon tomorrow. Bobbi Ann challenged us to try it without our sleeping bags - Mark and Tish decided to try it. I saw the day as a day of reflection and writing and not as a physical challenge, so I wasn't interested.

Bobbi Ann took four persons northeast on the ridge and Peter took Jeff, Mark, Tish and I southwest on the ridge. I have a roughly 75' x75' tract with trees, rocks, a view of the valley and mountains, and the ever-present yellowjackets.

This is my solitude site, but I hasten to point out that I was not allowed to take my camera on the day of solitude - I agreed that having it would have interfered with the point of the fasting and solitude. So these pictures of the site were taken the next day when I walked back to make a record of the location.

I have now sat for at least four hours writing. Beautiful blue sky, peaceful, beautiful mountains, beautiful trees - solitude here is certainly no sacrifice. Our watches were taken away from us at the beginning of the week, so I'd just have to guess by sun position that its about 2pm.

The rest of the day I spent in mind spin, walking around, reading a bit in Psalms, finishing my assignment. I checked out all the viewpoints on the valley and enjoyed watching the progress of the lengthening shadows as the afternoon progressed.

It was a unique experience to have no set agenda, no watch, no schedule, and to just be able to observe the coming of evening from a high wooded vantage point over a vast wooded valley and to watch the changing of the shadows on the distant mountain range.

In late afternoon I was struck by the sight of isolated trees on a rocky ridge to the east of me. I could see the distinct shadows of individual trees on the rock and watch them lengthen. later I watched as the sky turned pink in the east and the shadow to the mountain which rose behind me progressed across the valley.

The color of the sunset sky looking toward the southeast from my ridge was very unique. There was a pink band, but a blue band down on the mountains - the blue progressing through gentle pastel shads to pink at the boundary between them. I and never seen this type of sky. As the light faded the pink band diminished and the blue below blended into the blue above. With absolutely no artificial light around, even the night sky seemed bright.

With the chill of the evening setting in, I crawled into my sleeping bag. My thoughts were often of Mark - I knew he was going to be very cold.

August 31
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