We spent five days exploring the region and the park and discovering areas where we felt enveloped by a deep stillness. The weather was in constant play as well, and nature gave us the gift of wondrous experiences, one of which is recounted here.
On the third day of our trip to Big Bend, we drove into the Chisos Mountains, which were formed by volcanic activity several million years ago. The range lay ahead of us amidst cloud coverage after heavy overnight rain. As we approached the park, we could see snow in the distance on the highest peak. The unusual promise of snow in the Texas desert beckoned us as we drove closer and climbed higher. We reached The Basin, an elevated valley in the central part of the Chisos Mountains, and parked our car.
Although it was December 29, we felt like it was Christmas in paradise, as if we were in some other world. We stopped several times on the trail to take in the sweetness of the scene, feeling snowflakes tickle our faces and the tops of our heads. We watched in wonder as clouds began to lift away from a rocky mountain peak to the west, revealing a deep azure sky above and around the peak. Surprisingly, as the clouds parted further and the sky brightened, snow began to fall above us in full force. The sun emerged, piercing the dark wall of clouds and spilling its rays on the ground. The sun’s light was everywhere now, yet the snow did not cease. Tiny crystalline flakes gleaming with brilliant white sunlight tumbled out of the sky, surrounding us in a shower of sparkle and light. No man-made creation could ever compare with the beauty of this snowstorm in the sunshine.
Enchanted, we stood still wanting to hold time in abeyance, but the sun-shower lasted only for a few hundred heartbeats and then was gone. We were silent for some time, holding on to the feeling of awe that this fleeting moment of unexpected splendor had evoked. We made our way slowly down the trail, and by the time we reached the base of the mountain, the sun was shining brilliantly and only a few stray white clouds remained in the deep blue sky above. The rest of the clouds had traveled far, sweeping rich colors across the horizon and over the desert landscape below.
Deep in wonder and fulfillment, we left the Chisos Basin and drove back down the winding road that afforded gorgeous views in all directions. We would have ended our day fully satisfied, yet the ornate desert colored in late afternoon light called to us to explore further. We traveled to the eastern part of the park to find out what awaited us there.
We left the park just before dark. As the last light in the sky faded and the stars began to appear, we realized that this was one of the most memorable days in nature we have ever had, tucked away in this remote corner, which is the hidden treasure of Texas known as The Big Bend. We were reminded of the splendor of God’s creation, and how God’s energy permeates every remote corner of it.