I have spent the last three days in Paradise. Really! I have been at the Paradise area in Mount Rainier National Park. The name given to this gorgeous place is fitting. The Paradise area sits below lofty Mount Rainier and is world famous for its wildflower display each summer. John Muir once described Paradise Meadows as “the most luxuriant and the most extravagantly beautiful of all the alpine gardens I ever beheld in all my mountaintop wanderings.” The meadows are still covered with wildflowers today but the presence of millions of visitors has come with a price. Many sections of the fragile landscape has been trampled.
Today there seem to be as many signs warning park visitors to stay on the trails as there are wildflowers. As several have noted in recent years, we seem to be loving our national parks to death! Paradise Meadows is still beautiful but for it to remain that way for future generations to enjoy park visitors like myself must be very careful not to tred off marked trails.
The Bible describes another Paradise God created long long ago. Unfortunately, it too has been marred by the “footprint” of its visitors. With nearly seven billion people inhabiting planet earth today it is more important than ever before that we exercise caution and restraint as we live out our lives on this fragile planet. Perhaps we need more signs (like the one shown below asking people in many different languages to exercise caution) reminding us that if we’re not careful we will lose what we have.
The Bible actually contains many signs warning us not to abuse the land. Ecologists and scientists over the years have posted numerous warning signs. The destruction that has already occurred to God’s Creation should likewise serve as a sign.
It is obvious to me that Paradise has not yet been lost but it has certainly been damaged. Will the generations that follow us be able to enjoy what we do today? That’s up to us.
(The top image of Mount Rainier was taken at Reflection Lakes yesterday. The flowers and sign were both taken at Paradise Meadows.)