stones and such

Last week we glamped with the grands at Lake Ontario. This was RV#3 experience, if the back yard trial counts? In the region where we stayed, the shoreline was mostly rock. Relentless water and wind pound the stones into submission. Flat discs in an array of colors and sizes shifted underfoot as we tromped to the deep shade of a large willow. A few inukshut dotted the upper bank, welcoming us like old friends.

In the tradition of First Nation Inuits, stone towers were believed to bring good fortune to the builder and those who come behind. Our first experience with an inukshut village was on the Klondike Highway in the Yukon Territory. They added a human element, grounding a valley landscape which looked more like a moonscape. Another memorable encounter was at Shete Boka in Curacao. Small towers dotted a small valley, beyond which dramatic spouts of water shot high above the shoreline as surf surged through natural coves. “Those crazy Canadians!” our guide explained the towers. We could hardly hear him for the effect of water pistoling through rock. Inukshuts are like the gift that keeps on giving, North to South, around the globe.

I am fascinated by architecture and would admire inukshut for that reason alone. More importantly, I appreciate these reminders that God sometimes calls us to mark a place in testimony. Just as He instructed Joshua and the Israelites to do, crossing over to the promised land (Joshua 4). They were to use two piles of stones: 12 from the riverbed for an altar on shore and 12 from the shore for a marker in the riverbed. These visual touch-points helped maintain perspective, reminding them to Whom they belonged. The altar directed their relationship to the powerful God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The riverbed testified to His presence on their journey to freedom. Especially in drought, it would stand out. Don’t we all need a reminder most, then?

God went before them; He was with them and for them. He is just as present and interested in you and in me.

Sadie and I set to work that afternoon; sun at our backs and wind off the waves lifting the heat. Building that tower of rocks with her was the most important thing I would do that day. I savored the gift of time to chase dragonflies and collect colored stones. We were building memories as we scoured the shoreline for the perfect compliment.

For a time, at least until the next big storm, our paltry pile stands as a testimony that we were there. Right there. However, I hope I am building long-lasting signposts in my life — of faith and perseverance, integrity and trustworthiness, generosity and kindness. I hope there is grace enough to puddle in my footprints and love enough to muddy the ground. May those who come behind find abundant evidence that God was with me in this journey, loving and living through the dust of His creation.