Silver Falls State Park is a little gem tucked into the east side of the Willamette Valley near Salem. If there is any all-season, easy to access place in Oregon that inspires a sense of wonder it is here, on the Trail of Ten Falls.
I believe a sense of wonder and awe is the first ingredient in spirituality. After all, "being spiritual" is a quest, or at least an openness, to something and Someone greater.
Jesus started the Beatitudes with, Blessed are the poor in spirit. They realize their soul's need. They feel their inadequacy and smallness. Which means they have seen and experienced something bigger and higher and holier than themselves. We cannot feel small without first comparing ourselves to something big.
That concept gets at the core of why I disappear into the wilderness and lose myself among the mountains and sky and stars. My God is much, much bigger than me and I am but His child. I need to be reminded of that often so I can be truly humbled. In the home I manage as my castle, in the job and schedule I routinely perform, and in the city organized into manmade squares I am tempted to feel in control, to feel proud and accomplished. It is easy to feel no deep need of God surrounded by normal.
Walking the 5 mile Trail of Ten Falls, one gets to gaze at the beauty of so many waterfalls so close together. Though remnants of a land scraped by the flood, God has concentrated these wonders to give us a taste for the amazing glories of the earth made new.
With friends, my family visited Silver Falls on Christmas Day last year. This was a good time because crowds were low, water was high, and the gray day made for excellent photography conditions for waterfalls. We were in two cars so we were able to shuttle between North Falls at one end and South Falls at the other. The kids went through it quickly, but a friend and I strolled and talked about our usual topics related to hearing God's voice.
In the presence of waterfalls, that is an interesting topic. John, in Revelation 1:15, describes Christ's voice as "the sound of many waters." When Jesus personally greets us at His return, what will He sound like? Sit in front of a waterfall and try to imagine it!
Brochures and trail maps can be found here. Be prepared to pay a $5 parking fee or get a year-round parking permit good at all 197 state parks here. This map will help you get to Silver Falls State Park.
by Ed Lyons, 2/24/17