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Written by R.W.Cothern   

July 1, 1949

A man is of "few days and full of trouble," and our lives are "even as a vapor that appeareth for a little time and then vanish away." Few people find the time to use that "few days" to enjoy the wonders of this old world that God has put here to inspire us, and to live out their little span just for the dollars and cents to be made. I love a good sermon:, a song, and, sweet humble worship, but sometimes I find them in the strangest places. A quiet forest turns out to be a great sermon; a soft wind through the spruce and pine is sometimes a song too wonderful to snare it ir earthly lines and spaces, and even the ocean's "winds and waves" seem to "obey Him" and the great magnificent forests most certainly declare the glory of God."

On Friday, May 27th, Brother L. G. Smalley and I left for Carlsbad for a sixteen-day vacation trip through Colorado where we visited with my brother Edd Cothern, and thru Montana, where we visited another brother, Doc Cothern, and then on to Seattle, Washington, where we spent a wonderful week-end with my daughter, Mrs. W. S. Clay, leaving Monday by way of the West Coast Highway; Central California and Northern Arizona.

Pull up your chair now, and help me turn back the pages of memory, just to abbreviate the high spots, for I do want to tell you--

What a thrill, when we pulled out of Carlsbad, all packed up for camping and fishing, determined to leave all our worries behind. That night found us away up in northern N. M. mountains where all was so quiet and cool, and when the curtains of night were drawn, my good friend Smalley has a way of saying the sweetest little prayers, that so touch and refresh one's soul.

Then that strange feeling I had when I met Edd, and saw that he had aged in the eleven years since I saw him!--The never failing kindness of Sarah and the children-- that ride in Dave's swift motor boat across the blue lake where the waves insisted on leaping right into our laps.--The farewell words--how short the time.

The strange historic old town of Moab, Utah, and the crossing of the deep-walled Colorado River--the drive through Salt Lake City, the glittering Mormon capital of the world--the approach to Yellowstone National Park, first through a tunnel of trees, then a tunnel of snow-- dashing water-falls, where we climbed down to get close, and get the feel of the giant phenomenon of wild unlashed power--beautiful unequaled Lake Yellowstone, with the snow-capped peaks mirrored in it's placid water. Nearly eight thousand feet above sea level, three-hundred feet deep, and covering one-hundred thirty nine square mites--The feeling of awe as the crowd of tourists stood silently waiting for Old Faithful to spout her scalding volume of steam and boiling water into the air, the jar of the ground, the gurgling of boiling water, and then the. final mighty upheaval,, which strangely comes in the same minutes of the hour--The winding way out, the laugh I got out of Bro. Smalley when a big black bear ate up all the pecans and "asked" for more--A veteran hunter, and he could spot an elk a mile away, but declared, "there just isn't room in this car for me and a bear."

Then the grand visit with my daughter at Seattle, her husband and all the Clays; the picnic at Lake Stephens Park, where the manager of the park, a relative, presented to me the biggest maple tree I ever saw--what a courtesy:

The voyage across the Puget Sound the friendly sea-gulls; and Seattle nestling far away on the shore line--The sadness of our farewell; dear old Jaunice, how she held on so long to Daddy, and wept in my arms. O what love seemed to bind us all together that day.--The touching things that Brother Smalley said at that moment, and how the love all the folks showed for him melted my heart--

Then the first night back on our return trip, at Cave Junction, Oregon, where the little log cabins welcomed us in--the soft silver moon looked through the tall slender pines, and we walked out sways just to drink it all in and listen to the tree frogs and crickets. I said "Bud, I have read this in books, but this is the first time I ever saw it". There was no answer from my pal, for he was no doubt adding another verse to the beautiful song he had composed the few days back. A born singer, whose music comes to him like drops of manna from heaven.

We hurried away to breakfast in Crescent City seaport, and get a first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean, but when we got there a cold thick fog veiled the mystery and grandeur from our prying eyes. After some hours tile veil miraculously lifted and bid us behold the surging rolls coming in like restless spirits from some other world.

We stood on a high jagged rock, holding to each other, and watched the whitecaps heave in and dash wildly on the rock-ribbed coast. Four thousand miles out there is still the restless deep I thought of the old poem "Roll on thou deep and dark blue ocean roll, Time writes no wrinkles on thy azure brow"--With salt in our shoes, and damp with salty spray, we climbed back to the highway, and on we drove through the giant Redwood forests. Our hearts were running over with a feeling of poetry and praise, and when in the deep quiet forest we just paused to weep awhile, and thank God for it all. We told each other how man may sometimes forget to praise God, but the great silent trees praised him every hour in the day and night: O what a sermon they preached to us. The world's oldest living things. How small we were in their midst. They formed over our poor unworthy heads a towering Cathedral not made by hands of man. They appeared like a great castle in a weird land of dreams where the sunbeams lost their way and wandered in to stop and rest! My friend sang through his tears a part of the song he composed on the way there was a strange sweetness, and a feeling that God was so near, and now we look to that moment asthe most wonderful inspiration of all.

When, I become sad, and impatient with the multiplicity of the religious creeds of men, O just let me go listen again to the sermon of .the trees! How they stood side by side, contented to lift their leafy arms in praise to one God--one hope--one love!

R. W. Cothern

Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 September 2006 )
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.