Ranger Kathryn's Arches

December 23, 2011


Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 4:39 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Unretouched image of me at Mesa Arch at sunrise today. It glows copper-colored for only a few moments. Supreme joy.

In my last post I identified that I am in search of, driven by, and yearning for, three things. Not riches, not fame, not comfort; not accomplishment or acquisition; not greatness, not honor. Here’s what moves me:

1) I can sit on the edge of a canyon in mute wonder for a great long time, with no need to budge. I can stare at a single flower blossom in admiration, or stand transfixed and breathless in an art museum. Beauty undoes me.

2) I’m wired for connection. When I am 1:1 with a friend — over a cup of tea, on the phone, Skyping across an ocean, or (in the old days) writing a l-o-n-g letter — my heart is full and satisfied. It’s all about relationship.

3) Always, always, I am digging up something fresh and intriguing. How does the evening primrose spring open so quickly? Where will that canyoneering route take me? What is the etymology of this curious word? How many civil war deaths resulted from field amputations? And… did I bug my parents by asking questions incessantly? This insatiable curiosity is a manifestation of my longing to be fascinated.

These stirrings provide strong evidence that there’s something more, something higher, something I can’t yet see. C. S. Lewis got it:

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Aaaaahhhhh. That’s it. My lifelong search for beauty, connection, and fascination is not of this earth. Makes perfect sense to me.

So, in this Advent season, when we remember the gentle and unassuming commingling of earth and heaven, the contemplative in me finds rest. My deepest longings will one day be satisfied, beyond my ability to imagine. This I know.

All is well.

Merry Christmas to my readers.


  1. Merry Christmas Kathryn! Love your blogs.

    Comment by Tom Sauer — December 23, 2011 @ 5:04 pm | Reply

    • Thanks for reading along! It will be my first Christmas away from family in many decades. This is the place to ‘endure’ that, if I must say so. Merry Christmas, Tom.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — December 23, 2011 @ 7:16 pm | Reply

  2. Thank you for constantly uplifting all who read your blog, dear Kathryn. I am giving you the award I created if that’s ok. Merry Christmas. http://believeanyway.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/creation-of-new-blog-award-the-candle-lighter-award/

    Comment by Kate Kresse — December 23, 2011 @ 5:46 pm | Reply

    • I accept your award with humility and gratitude. Blessed Christmas, dear Kate!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — December 23, 2011 @ 7:27 pm | Reply

      • Blessed Christmas, too…my dear, dear old friend. so happy you are a ranger again.

        Comment by Kate Kresse — December 24, 2011 @ 12:55 am

  3. Maybe not of this world but maybe through it? You look so chipper at sunrise!

    Comment by midsummerman — December 23, 2011 @ 6:48 pm | Reply

    • Thanks for processing with me. You’re good at that, good at expanding my views. And if I look chipper, it’s only because I was trying to stave off frostbite! Couldn’t feel my fingers!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — December 23, 2011 @ 9:56 pm | Reply

  4. Great shot. My brother had me put up a photo of Mesa Arch on our site the other day. You should check it out!!!

    Have a great day,


    Comment by PhotoBotos.com — December 23, 2011 @ 7:08 pm | Reply

  5. Awww….Kathryn. I feel you are a sentinel for all of us – to remind us, to refocus us on the importance of beauty and stillness and yes, even risk-taking in our lives. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love your writings. I love the way they make me feel. Christmas blessings to you……….

    Comment by Jane Bennett Koch — December 23, 2011 @ 8:19 pm | Reply

    • Tears in my eyes. Thanks, Jane.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — December 23, 2011 @ 9:52 pm | Reply

  6. There is no such thing as too many questions. The properly framed question directed to the truly informed source is perhaps the most potent tool mankind has ever invented. Questions save you from having to re-invent the wheel and allow you to stand on the shoulders of giants. Your questions were relished, cherished and, I hope, nourished.

    Comment by Leroque — December 23, 2011 @ 8:20 pm | Reply

    • I never felt “shushed,” Dad, but can’t remember if I asked all my childhood questions out loud or in my mind. I love questions. I love asking them, love finding the answers, love the process. Thanks for your insight.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — December 23, 2011 @ 9:54 pm | Reply

  7. Merry Christmas Kathryn. The beauty is astounding. Thank you for sharing it. This year I will find beauty and wonder in my grand child, Jack. How he is learning and examining his world. How he makes connections. The young are so interesting to observe.

    Comment by Deb — December 24, 2011 @ 7:47 am | Reply

    • To you, a Christmas filled with wonder and delight, just as Jack’s is. I owe you a debt of gratitude I can never repay, for lighting my way into the park service, Deb. May 2012 overflow with joy for you.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — December 24, 2011 @ 9:54 am | Reply

  8. Kathryn, Reading your blogs is like reading a book I cannot put down. I love the pictures you post and the pictures you paint with your grasp of the English language. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your day-to-day life. Merry Christmas to you. We truly are aliens on this earth just waiting to go home. Maranatha! Hugs, G

    Comment by Allen — December 24, 2011 @ 1:22 pm | Reply

    • Thank you. Today, just today, I needed to hear that. It’s hard for me to believe that real people with real lives can find so much interest in what I jot down, but I’m grateful to have friends sojourning with me. I hope there is much, much more in 2012 to share!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — December 24, 2011 @ 6:53 pm | Reply

  9. Thank you for this exquisite photo, so timely taken, with you, my dear friend, experiencing the beauty in person!
    I am so appreciating your posts and photos…and new energy to connect with you once again.
    Merry Christmas-belated, but really, never too late–and Happy 2012, a joyous new year with an abundance of new discoveries in store!
    Love, Joann

    Comment by Joann — December 30, 2011 @ 9:17 pm | Reply

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