Please enjoy the original writing, Christian travel journal, and photography by a hapa haole named Gail Rhea.

Original Writing & Photography

by Gail Rhea

 

 

 

From: "The Hapa Haole Journal"

 

Sent: Sunday, October 08, 2006 1:48 AM

 

Subject: The HHJ: The Assassin and the Gray Wolf

 
 


Today started clear and beautiful. Checked out of my room, I was ready to hit the road until I recalled that I wanted to check on a story I heard on the Bible cassette during the mobile parking lot from Colorado Springs through Denver. I've read the entire Bible several times through, but this particular story had slipped my mind. When I heard it, I said, "What?!" and rewound the tape. Dealing with traffic, though, even a jam, isn't conducive to focusing on the Word. After a half-dozen or so rewinds, I gave up, sitting bored because there wasn't a thing I could do about it at the time.

This morning, I remembered. Looking up the story in Judges 3:12-30, I thought, "That guy was an assassin! The Lord actually sent someone to assassinate a king!"

That gave me a lot to think about and compare to, or, more accurately, wonder about, more recent events and rumors about political assassinations or attempted assassinations around the world. Charles de Gaulle, Ronald Reagan, the CIA... It's intriguing to consider that one or more of them could have been orchestrated by a holy God and not a devil in disguise.

With those thoughts in mind, the terrain of Wyoming demanded my attention. The rolling hills reminded me of the part of Texas I had passed through on Thursday with a few distinct exceptions. Where Texas was pale green with clumps of darker bushes and occasional trees, Wyoming was shades of buff and brown, bare of bushes, with no trees except along creeks or near houses. It was like a wheat field after harvest, everything cropped close. The marvel was that it was like that for miles and miles and miles, on both sides of I-25. It was so clean, so civilized, while Texas has that rugged, still, wildness. I don't know if Wyoming is like that naturally. If not, some people put in a whole lot of hard work to make it that way.

The expanse was so great, I couldn't imagine a cowboy riding cross-country like I had before. I couldn't imagine a wagon train of settlers. I couldn't imagine Indians or anything at all. If Montana is Big Sky Country, Wyoming is B-I-G Country.

HUGE.

I've gone across wide open spaces before, the Painted Desert, the Mojave Desert, from Carlsbad Cavern to El Paso, I-10 from Las Cruces to Tucson, Death Valley, etc. They're barren and deserted, a challenge to man's will to survive. 

The land that I traversed in Wyoming has a confidence that the others lack. It has always been and will always be. People may claim to possess it and grow crops or raise cattle, horses, and sheep, but they're transitory. Only the land will remain and Wyoming bears the full knowledge of that fact.

Then, the gray wolf appeared. Loping towards the freeway from a 90-degree angle, it looked toward my car from atop the hill's crest as though to gauge its crossing and continued to run. At the speed it was running and at the speed I was driving, 70-75 mph, I saw a convergence. Not wanting to hit it, I braked to slow down while it was still running down the hill.

As it crossed directly in front of me, it turned its head and looked straight through to my soul with a calculated, regal stare that said, "I knew you wouldn't hit me."

I imagined it, of course, but the effect was electric. My jaw dropped and stayed dropped for several miles after. I tried to rationalize it. It was a coyote, not a wolf. 

No, the muzzle, ears, and legs were those of a wolf. But, a lone wolf before 3 o'clock in the afternoon?

It was a wolf and it calculated its run across the freeway from the top of the hill just as surely as I used to time a traffic light's change from red to green so I could go immediately on the first moment of green.

Now, I'm not good at judging distances, but I later counted and there were usually 26 reflector stakes between each mile marker. Given that the wolf got to the road about two stakes worth of distance in front of me, my guesstimate is that we were within 400 ft and closing fast.

I've never seen a wolf before. Not like that, running free, with its commanding presence. It was an encounter to remember.

After that, it was all downhill. The Road Kill Rabbit Zone that had the remains of so many rabbit carcasses. The rain that I drove into near Buffalo. That was a bit of a challenge because the wind was blowing so strongly, it blew the rain drops up and off the windshield. Using the wipers was an exercise in engineering or futility. As long as the rain was light, it was best for me to leave the wipers off and let the wind work, like going through the jet-dry at a car wash. When the rain got heavier, however, the wipers would push the water up, then down again, while the wind was trying to blow it up. What a mess. Fortunately, the heavier rain lasted a mere few minutes, just long enough to give me something to be perplexed and then laugh about.

Even nearly running out of gas on I-90 and pulling into the station after they had locked the pumps for closing, "Please, I'm on empty!" couldn't distract from the encounter with the wolf. With only 1 gallon remaining that wouldn't have gotten me anywhere close to the next town, you'd think I would have been more nervous, but I wasn't. (I thought to fill up at Sheridan, but saw the sign that said, "13 miles to next service." Having more than enough gas to make the 13 miles, I passed Sheridan and somehow missed the next one, too. Ulp!)

One final thought about the permanency of the land: If the land is that secure, so permanent, how much surer God's word must be.

"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Mat 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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