"This was worth the hike," I managed to wheeze out once we'd reached the apex.
Before us was a intriguingly mysterious habitat; a chunk of natural wonder I'd never experienced before....
"Boreal Bog," said my hiking comrade, James. "A change from the saltmarsh, eh?"
Though I will never lose my passion for those waving acres of grass found along the Delaware Bayshore, I found myself strangely fixed on this foreign terrain.
"Looks like we're on another planet," I finally interjected, after a bit of searching for the right words.
The term boreal refers to the high northern reaches of the globe. The Canadian portion of this pristine habitat reaches it's southern edge in our northern states, making for an invaluable addition to the diverse tapestry of the North American landscape.
I ran my eyes over this alien area, searching high and low for new discoveries to catch my attention. Upon finishing my visual survey, I looked down at my feet, only to find my greatest discovery yet: Pitcher Plant!
"James, LOOK, LOOK! PITCHER PLANT!" My incessant exclamations and directional pointer finger left no doubt as to the vicinity of my glorious find.
My travelling partner couldn't hide the look of confusion on his face; I had just traveled ten hours to be most enthralled by a plant I could have found five minutes away from my house.
No matter where you find this distinctive plant, the surprise and wonder never cease. Pitcher Plants are carnivorous plants, wanting nothing more than to feast on unsuspecting flies. Combining their colors with the false promise of nectar, these deadly beauties tend to catch insects off guard. Once the potential victim has inspected his potential feeding trough, he takes a final leap into certain doom. For once inside the lowest part of the plant, the part with the nectar, fine hairs prevent the bug from ever going up again, entrapping him in a gooey mess.
These juices then procede to absorb the insect's body, until the plant has digested the entire meal, ready to dine on the next poor traveller hoping for a bite to eat.
"Amazing things, eh?" my friend unemotionally intoned. "No wonder why they're called 'Pitfall Traps.'
Pitfall...Pitfall...Pitfall My mind sounded like a broken record, mulling over this crucial noun in the Christian's vocabulary.
"And to think, this bog is just full of them," James finished up, taking another survey of the extensive bog.
And he was right. The clumps of pitcher plants weren't obvious; but on closer inspection, the bog was littered with those deadly beauties.
"I sometimes feel like those flies crossing this bog," I muttered, fixing my eyes on a particularly large clumps of plants.
"How so?" James asked, lifting an eyebrow in curiosity.
"I feel like my voyage through life is full of pitfalls. As soon as I think I'm past a particular problem in my relationship to God, I walk a little further, look a little closer, and there's the pitfall again! And most of the time, I hardly know they're coming."
James sat for a little, contemplating something: whether it was the bog, my speech, or peace in the middle east, I couldn't say. I usually gravitate toward friends who are deep into their well; James was no exception.
I continued: "Take for instance pride. I thought my problems with pride were things of the past, in the rear-view mirror. But then, I suddenly find myself entertaining haughty thoughts, things that seem to run straight against the will of God."
A contemplative "hmmm" was all the response I got. I went on: "I feel like those flies because I seem to be sucked dry of all that spiritual strength I once enjoyed; just like those poor insects who have no way of escape."
I sat, winded from my speech, staring at my stoic mentor. Eventually, he turned, and with all the common sense in the world, blurted, "Stop it."
"Excuse me?" I asked, suddenly on the defensive.
"If you're dealing with pride, stop the thought in your mind. Tell yourself to 'stop it' as soon as the idea forms in your head."
"I don't understand..." I stammered, a bit taken back by the frankness of my companion.
"If you don't inspect the flower, you can't fall in the juices. You've got to nip the problem in the bud, (no pun intended)." And with this final admonition, James fell back to contemplating the Boreal Bog, and all the other secrets it held.
I sat stunned: those spiritual traps I grieved over so often could've been avoided had I "stopped it." In all those black times when I felt my soul being eaten away by spiritual acids, I've always had a Father standing by saying: "When you've stopped, why not ask for my Spirit to fill the empty space in your thought-life?"
To be sure, I'm thoroughly equipped to lead a vitorious Christian life; all I have to do is unite God's plan with my will, and I'm prepared for every fiery dart that comes my way. Surrendering my will to God is a crucial step toward victory.
"I have overwhelming victory through Christ;" just another natural message from the Creator. Just another silent corner of creation with a message so loud it could destroy the gates of Hell.
"Well," I said, after chewing the instructions over in my mind, "ready for breakfast? I've made fly sausage!"
A smile spread across the stoic countenace of my friend. With that, we started down the mountain, leaving a bog full of pitfalls well behind.