Big Sky, Big Thoughts
Imagine being locked in a prison cell for days, weeks, or even months. Your environment is shrunk to a gray cube about 10 feet on edge. Your attention would sooner or later be focused on the bugs on the wall, the wrinkles in the bed sheet, and the scratches in the concrete.
Now imagine going for a walk on a long road near the Sycan Marsh in eastern Oregon. Sagebrush scents the air. A gentle breeze nudges puffy clouds across an azure sky. Blue hills in the distance stretch your gaze for dozens of miles. This is the opposite of prison. This is true freedom designed by God for the human spirit.
I used a rather extreme contrast to illustrate a point, but modern research techniques confirm that creativity and thinking improve with a change in environment as subtle as the ceiling height in a room.
"Joan Meyers-Levy and co-author Rui (Juliet) Zhu, assistant professor of marketing at the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia and a Carlson doctoral alum, found that, depending on the situation, ceiling height will benefit or impair consumer responses…. 'When a person is in a space with a 10-foot ceiling, they will tend to think more freely, more abstractly,' said Meyers-Levy. 'They might process more abstract connections between objects in a room, whereas a person in a room with an 8-foot ceiling will be more likely to focus on specifics.'" (Science Daily)
We really don't need scientific research to tell us what we already know. When our time and space are crowded with information, things, and activities we have a very difficult time maintaining productivity and focus. After a non-stop day, we just want to go home, kick our feet up on the couch, and breathe. Yet, we are still in a relatively small space. God wants us to join Him in experiencing and shaping His huge kingdom.
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth." (Genesis 1:26) "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32)
If we imprison ourselves in our towns and cities and work routines, we will never get out to see the vast beauty and experience the richness of the kingdom God created and maintains for us.
Those who departed from God built for themselves cities, and, congregating in them, gloried in the splendor, the luxury, and the vice that make the cities of today the world's pride and its curse. But the men who held fast God's principles of life dwelt among the fields and hills. They were tillers of the soil and keepers of flocks and herds, and in this free, independent life, with its opportunities for labor and study and meditation, they learned of God and taught their children of His works and ways. (Education, 33)
One fantastic place to see and experience the bigness of God's kingdom is on the north end of the OC&E Trail near the Sycan Marsh. This former logging railroad is now an 80 mile trail that is paved in Klamath Falls, graveled through Sprague River and Beatty, then splits off to Bly and Sycan Marsh as loose rock paths. There is plenty of opportunity for easy exercise on this nearly flat trail. There are also many viewpoints for scenery and wildlife.
The Sycan Marsh itself is managed by The Nature Conservancy and they have information on how to tour the area by car. You can also ride the trail on bike. If you plan on riding east of Sprague River, make sure you have wide tires to handle the larger rocky surface, and be prepared for downed trees through the forested areas.
If raising the ceiling of a room from 8 to 10 feet makes an impact on our thinking and connecting abilities, imagine the blessings God is waiting to pour into us as we walk beneath a limitless sky!
by Ed Lyons, 4/14/17