Oct 9 2011

See Any Moose?

“See any moose?” That was the question I heard time and time again this past Thursday and Friday morning. I was at Baxter State Park in Maine photographing the wonders of fall in New England. Both mornings I got up early to take pictures of sunrise at Sandy Stream Pond. Both mornings I stood in awe of the beauty before me. After staying at the site for more than an hour each day I would head back up the trail to my car so I could go explore other sections of the park. Along the way back both days I ran into numerous photographers heading to the spot I had just left. Everyone asked the same thing: “See any moose?”

Now I know Sandy Stream Pond is known as a good location for viewing moose but it struck me odd that several photographers only thought of it as a place to photograph moose and not a place of incredibly scenic beauty. I would have been thrilled to see a moose there but my experience at Sandy Stream Pond was hardly diminished because there were no moose sightings. In fact, the light was so beautiful my first morning there I’m not sure I would have even taken time to photograph a moose had there been one present.

I later heard that no moose had been spotted at Sandy Stream Pond for three or four days. That meant there were a lot of disappointed photographers. Ironically, after I left Sandy Stream Pond on Thursday I took a short walk to Tracey Pond just to see what it looked like. When I walked down to the shore I looked up and spotted a bull moose not far away. There were no photographers in sight.

My experience at Baxter State Park got me thinking. We photographers can miss out on a lot of wonderful things when we get so focused on one subject. (I still can’t get over how the wildlife photographers were not interested at all in the scenic beauty of Sandy Stream Pond!) Furthermore, we can miss out on a lot if we get to thinking there is only one spot to find what we’re looking for. In both cases the same thing can happen spiritually. Some of us may be so focused on just one aspect of God that we miss seeing or experiencing other aspects of His greatness which are there right before us. Likewise, some of us might just discover that an intense search for God–especially if we keep looking in the same spot all of the time–may prove counter productive. God is just as likely to surprise us with His presence in some unexpected place as He is to be found in some more familiar location.

I was reminded at Sandy Stream Pond how important it is that I stay alert to God’s presence everywhere I go and to remain open to His surprises. The Bible is filled with examples of where God surprised people with His presence. (Examples include Moses at the burning bush, Elijah in his cave, and Simon Peter in his prison cell.) The Scriptures indicate that God is “the same yesterday, today and forever.” If that is the case, why should we not expect to be surprised today?

I didn’t see any moose at Sandy Stream Pond this past week but I did experience something of God’s glory. I’ll take that over a big ole moose any day!

–Chuck

(I took the moose image at Tracey Pond in Baxter State Park.  The other two images are from Sandy Stream Pond the same morning.  Interestingly enough, I was surprised to see another bull moose last night on top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.)