Before mountains were born …


This is Stair Hole between Lulworth Cove and Dungy Head in Dorset and is quite remarkable, geologically speaking, as the different rocks that make it up reflect a history of some 80 million years, from Jurassic limestones to the Cretaceous Chalk.  There is a layer of Portland Stone limestone on the seaward side that is hard and slow to be eroded.  It protects the softer Purbeck beds which can be seen crumpled and layered.  A small breach in the rocks has let in some water which erodes the softer rocks, through the activity of the sea and weather.  As I was looking at this amazing scene, I was really struck by the enormous timescale and movements of the elements that have caused this breathtaking sight.

I came across a verse in the Book of Psalms that caused me to think of this sight:

Before mountains were born, or you birthed land and earth, from everlasting to everlasting, You are God  [Psalm 90:2]

It is part of a prayer of Moses and I wonder if he was looking at a vast mountain-scape when he thought up this phrase, and perhaps he imagined how incredible they were and how always-have-been-there they seemed to be.  And as vast and mind-blowing they were, this man of faith declared that God, his God,  has always been.  And as he looked back over his past and that of his ancestors he saw the line that connected them all with each other, a line of faith:  Lord, You have been our dwelling place from generation to generation [Psalm 90:1].

I love being out in nature as it gives me time to think and reflect even while it also takes me out of myself, being part of something much, much bigger.  It is a place of wonder and also a place of faith.


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