I am asking for your help on something - Thurmond Duke
Dear Friends....and ANYONE who happens to read this....
Years ago, I went up an old hiking trail not shown on modern maps. It was one of the best hikes of my life. The perfect day, the right time of year, and I was reveling in the wonder of God's mountains and His creation. The mountain laurel was in full bloom. In one place it was growing on both sides of the trail and had arched over the trail making a canopy of blossoms beside me and over me; it was incredibly fragrant and uncommonly beautiful. I came to a place near the ridgeline where I could tell that by going to the edge there would be a spectacular view. I walked out to a rock outcropping, camera ready, and my heart fell into my boots. I could see across a wide, long expanse of valley to the next ridgeline which the eye could follow for at least a couple of miles. What I saw was not the glory of God's creation, but the rape of God's creation. A huge portion of it had been raped by clearcutting. An entire forest had been totally removed. From the valley floor to the top of the mountain there was nothing left but barren earth.
I stood there in disbelief; my spirit felt grief for the life that was gone from the mountain. I know the wags will be thinking to themselves, yeah, TD, you quieted into silence? Nah, never happen. But I had no words, no thoughts, that could express my grief.
This is something that I have shared with but one or two people, but after a few minutes the Spirit began to rise in me, and I began to speak in my "prayer language." At first it was just a quiet flow, but it began to rise in intensity. Then it became forceful...and loud...and I was, I am convinced, prophecying and speaking to the mountains. At one point I began to hold my hiking staff over my head while literally shouting the words to the hills; this lasted for ten or fifteen minutes, and then it began to end as quietly as it began. I had never experienced anything like that before, nor have I since.
I have never shared the story because the few I have shared it with just looked at me like I was some wierd creature from another planet, but it has become one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life.
I tell it now because in a few weeks, barring some unforseen change, I shall be beginning a few months on the Appalachian Trail. People who do this usually take a trail name. I’ve been trying to think of one for me, doing nothing but drawing blanks. Then I thought of that time, and thought maybe Speaks to Mountains would suit me, but I wonder if it doesn’t sound a little hokey and contrived, plus I don’t want to have to explain why I chose it to those who ask, most of whom will be unbelievers. I seriously don’t want to be immediately written off as ‘one of those weird people’ and lose all opportunity to be used of the Lord to touch the lives with which I come in contact.
So I am asking my friends for help. Is it hokey and I should keep trying, or not? Or maybe you have an idea or a different name for me to consider. I would love your input, your suggestions and your help. Please feel free to weigh in asap.