Google and a walk teach a memorable lesson SanTan Sun News

Google and a walk teach a memorable lesson

Google and a walk teach a memorable  lesson
Spirituality
0

By Lynne Hartke
Guest Writer

Water. Check. Sunscreen. Check. Hiking snack. Check.

“Do you have everything?” my husband Kevin asked as he waited by the front door of our cabin. After thirty-eight years of marriage, he was used to my list-making ways.

“Yes,” I said, as I grabbed the last two items on my list—a small notebook and pencil—as we headed out to hike Mormon Mountain, a six-mile, out-and-back trek. I looked forward to hiking an old growth forest with 200 to 500-year-old ponderosa pine trees, as well as snags (large standing dead trees), downed logs, clumps of younger trees, and small clearings.

The day was perfect, not yet seventy degrees, as we hit the trail at 8:00 am. A pair of ravens scolded us with raucous voices from the tall branches of their woodland sanctuary.

An acorn woodpecker, sporting a bright red cap, searched for breakfast in the bark of a nearby tree, while a curious mountain chickadee sang out morning greetings.

As we ascended, we discovered wildflowers that thrived in the 7000-foot and higher elevation. The delicate purple hoary aster. The spindly firecracker penstemon. The beautiful golden columbine. I took out my notebook and began a list, adding the date and location.

The oak trees gave way to spruce as we continued to the summit, startling a pair of turkeys and their brood of young.

“What are baby turkeys called?” I asked as we stopped for a granola bar breakfast on a felled tree in a small grove of aspens.  A patch of wild strawberries without any ripe fruit grew at our feet.

“Not sure,” Kevin responded.

With cell towers visible in the distance, I pulled out my phone. Turkey baby name, I typed. Rather than the correct answer, poult or chick, Google gave me a list of the most popular names for girls in the country of Turkey: Beste, Canan and Defne. The site assured me that Turkish names for girls are typically short and deeply meaningful.

We laughed at the search engine response, but I was struck by the phrase: short and deeply meaningful. The list hadn’t been what I was looking for, but I understood the sentiment of the Turkish list-maker.

I pulled out my notebook and added a few more items to my list.

Aspen trees. Strawberry plants. Baby turkeys.

I gathered the memory of the day around me. Soon we would return to other lists and responsibilities, but for now we enjoyed a short, but deeply meaningful experience, one I would recall again each time I returned to my list.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:8 ESV

Lynne Hartke is the author of Under a Desert Sky and the wife of pastor and Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke. She blogs at lynnehartke.com.

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