On Friday afternoon, shortly after arriving at Badlands National Park, setting up camp, and then getting right to work doing my photography, I found myself taking pictures several hundred feet off the road. I wasn't feeling very sociable, since I was still recovering from a bad case of the flu, and quite aware that my voice sounded horrible.
Suddenly, I heard footsteps behind me and looked up. "Are you Steve?" a middle-aged man asked. Looking at him suspiciously, I answered slowly: "Yes?" I was afraid there'd been some sort of family emergency, and that he'd been sent to find my car - and me. "Well the woman I'm with who's in the car up there" [pointing to the road], he continued, "says she knows you."
The woman eventually got out of the car and joined us. As it turns out, I went to seminary with her. I graduated in 1992 and she, two years later. Then, 24 years later - three weeks ago - I met her again at a workshop on Wilderness Mysticism that I gave on a snowy Saturday.
I soon found out that this woman - Jeannie - felt so inspired by my presentation several weeks ago, that it inspired her to get out with her husband and do some photography of her own, They were headed back to Iowa to visit relatives, and decided to stop at the Badlands.
The funny thing is that Jeannie apparently had just been discussing me in the car shortly before they arrived on the scene. She described my outdoor hat to her husband, and told him to be on the lookout for me. "Maybe he's HERE," she told him.
And indeed, I was . . .
Photo: Badlands National Park, SD,. May 20, 2016
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Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.