Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hiking on Shabbat

On Saturday morning I took a hike on the Monument Rock Loop in Pike National Forest. Joined by seven others, a mix of Temple Beit Torah members and others, we hiked about a mile until we came to the Monument Rock, a striking formation located at the foot of Mount Herman. The formation, called the Dawson Arkose, consists of jumbled bits of quartz and feldspar pressed together to form the rock and was molded from eroding bits of the ancestral Rockies that washed onto the plain about 55 million years ago. There are other, similar formations in the Monument-Air Force Academy area and of course, the reddish rock formations of Garden of the Gods and other areas along the Front Range.

In the rock's shadow, we conducted a short Shabbat morning service before hiking back via a different route. I'm very much enjoying these Shabbat hikes; I wish more folks would take advantage of them, but anything new takes a while to catch on. New for my congregation, that is; he whole idea is not original to me and has been done on a somewhat larger scale by my colleague Jamie Korngold, the 'Advenure Rabbi' who is based in Boulder. The idea of combining a hike with an outdoor service is wonderful; out in the wild I feel that the prayers speak to me much more consistently than in the synagogue. Why not worship the Creator in the beauty of creation? I'm looking forward to several more of these hikes before summer's end.