Who doesn’t enjoy getting mail? I mean real mail, not bills or mass produced bulk mail addressed to “Or Current Resident”. Especially in this day and age when greeting cards have become an endangered species in lieu of electronic communications. I myself am guilty of this shift to free, quick and impersonal so I’m not pointing fingers, just making observations. Anyway, I love getting mail and this past week I got a greeting card from some friends who are moving to another state. It was the type of card that was blank inside with a personal message written from the heart and a lovely image of nature on the front.
With misty eyes I read the kind words and lay the card on our coffee table so the whole family could enjoy it for a few days. After sitting there all week, my son absentmindedly picked it up one morning and stared puzzled at the picture on the front. “Where did you get this picture of Sand Run Falls on a card?” he asked. “What do you mean?” was my confused response since I was unsure of what he meant.
Sand Run is an obscure creek that our family has treasured as a hiking location for years. It’s down the road a few miles from where my dad used to live and almost in pilgrimage fashion we hike there multiple times every spring and summer. It is familiar primarily to locals and a mile off the beaten path so it struck me as odd that my son mistook the greeting card stock photo for our favorite family spot. It seemed utterly inconceivable.
He held the card up and said “This is Sand Run. I recognize it clearly. I’ve hiked there countless times. Look – that’s the little tree at the top that I hang onto before crossing the creek every time! This is our waterfall! What’s it doing on this card?” I was stunned. It made no sense, but now that he mentioned it, I had to admit that the lay of the land and many peculiar features bore a familiar resemblance to what we consider ‘our’ personal family waterfall. In my uncertainty and wonder I flipped the card over and looked at the back. My jaw dropped as I discovered that this card had been produced by a printing press in a nearby small town, increasing the possibility that this was indeed the Sand Run Falls our family knows and loves. Perhaps this seems insignificant to you, but I began having a moment.
You see, my friends who sent this card aren’t locals at all. In fact they are from upstate New York and have moved extensively back and forth all across the country. They are once again in transition as they relocate to Maine and have no connection that I know of to Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier Mountains. Furthermore, my father passed away last summer and our family has keenly felt his absence and the loss of all things associated with visiting him and our adventures together in the scenic beauty around his home. Only moments before my son’s discovery of the picture, we had been discussing how much we missed the mountains and have to head up there soon to go hiking. To coin a phrase we were calling this whole experience ‘a God thing’.
So the mystery continues as I was unable to track down my friends (on the road to Maine) to ask them how they came to possess this greeting card in the first place and what supernatural instincts persuaded them to send this particular card to us! I am now on a quest. I want to track down the company who produced these cards and find out if it’s possible to verify the identity of this particular image. In all fairness, the mountainous regions of Pennsylvania have countless idyllic settings which may indeed be very similar to Sand Run. I would love to know for certain. But in the meantime, I am thanking God for a reminder of how great and marvelous are His ways and how creatively He can orchestrate a curious series of events to impress upon a gal that He’s got it all under control!