I’m writing this from the lush rain forest of Olympic National Park in Washington State, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come home. I think it may be the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen some take-my-breath-away places. I can’t even begin to describe the beauty this park holds, but I’ll try.
Everywhere I look, I think I’m in the middle of a Thomas Kinkade painting or a Disney movie set. Snow-capped mountains hover in the background like a benevolent, fur-cloaked queen, protecting her subjects. Luxurious plants spring from moss-covered rocks as if soil is a petty nuisance. Vibrant blues and yellows and pinks and purples compete with voluptuous green ferns and fir trees.
And the animals! The animals are almost more human than some people I know. Whole families of dark-coated, black-tailed deer politely wander within feet of humans as if to say, “Take your shoes off; make yourself at home.” At one point, a days-old (possibly hours-old) fawn trotted so close I could have touched him, on its way to catch up to its mother. I scrambled for my video camera in time to catch a tiny, bleat-squeaked, “Mommy, wait up!”
Not far from there, a black bear hunched fifteen yards from us, munching on some clover like he hadn’t eaten for months. Which, he hadn’t. He didn’t offer to share, but I wasn’t offended. He was actually quite polite, considering we interrupted his dinner.
A vole ran away from us, looking over his shoulder, inviting us to try and catch him before disappearing into a grass-covered hole in the ground. I’m pretty sure I heard laughter echo through the tunnel. I guess every family has a prankster.
All this takes place with wind-whistles and birdie-surround-sound as background music. It’s the melding of a classical concert and an amazing rock band—a crossbreed of Chopin and Chicago.
And the smell! I wish I could bottle this smell and take it with me wherever I go. It’s thick and woodsy and sweet and floral, with a sprinkle of tangy and a dash of spicy thrown into the mix.
I began my journey with intentions of an easy drive-through tour. My right foot is injured, so hiking didn’t seem to be an option. But immersed in the wonder of it all, I decided to take a short trail up to the next crest, and the next and the next until an hour later I limped to the top of Hurricane Ridge. In the distance, I could see crystal waters, more mountains, and Canada. I soaked in the splendor of it all, turning to view it from every angle, and I was almost crushed beneath the weight of its majesty.
I was gob smacked.
Deep in my mind, a voice whispered, “This is nothing. Wait ‘til you see your home.” And I knew that voice wasn’t talking about Texas.
I’ve never seen such awe-inspiring beauty. I’ve never imagined such stirring scents and sounds. Words and pictures can’t begin to communicate the fierce, fearsome magnitude of this place. And to think . . . God was just playing around here. Having fun. Practicing his architecture plans for the real deal . . . that place called heaven.
I can’t wrap my mind around it.
And I can’t wait.
Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.