The Contemplative

copyright 2015

Michael C. Deel, Sr

*You may find the second part of this series at The Journals’ of Samuel.*

The Journals of Samuel


A friend of mine, Jeremiah, is a mountain climber and back-country backpacker. Four years ago he was hiking on a peak in the middle latitudes of the Rocky Mountain range in the United States when he came upon an abandoned camp near the summit of the peak he was traversing. The camp was primitive in nature but not in age. It was perched atop a 60 foot cliff on a 15 foot wide ledge. A natural cave went into the mountain at the back of the ledge.

The cave was about 30 feet square and 7 feet high. There was a fire pit and stones placed here and there for what appeared to be seats. A low stone-slab table held a couple of beat-up cooking pots, an iron skillet, and rude cooking implements. Another table held instruments that appeared to be for animal butchery and skinning. Some hand tools made from bone were scattered about. A pile of dressed animal skins sat next to the side wall. Everything was covered with dust. The cave had apparently been abandoned for some time.

Evening was coming on and Jeremiah decided to stay for the night. Taking some wood from a neatly piled stack, he lit a fire in the pit and prepared to make his evening meal and bed down. The extra light from the fire revealed more of the cave’s interior and illuiminated some discoveries that made him forget about his hunger and tiredness.

The fire enabled him to see deeper into the cave. He noticed that on the back wall a low niche had been carved into the rock. Lying on the floor of the niche was a rumpled pile of animal skins and furs. Sitting next to that near the mouth of the niche was a stout candle of tallow. That was when he discovered Samuel.

The skeletal remains of a man were discovered underneath the top-most skin. The remains were old. The bones were dry and there was no evidence of skin or tissue. It appeared that some or most of the soft tissue had been removed by insects and/or rodents and with none left the diners had abandoned the dinner. But the cave was obviously not abandoned. It had become a sepulcher. Jeremiah found lying nearby a stack of leather bound journals with one of them open and directly beside the bier. That was when the name of the dearly departed was discovered. This cave had lately been the home of one who called himself “Samuel.” It was Samuel’s bones that presently lay there in perfect and eternal rest.

Thanking God for technology, Jeremiah walked to the mouth of the cave and using his satellite phone called the nearest authorities to tell them of his find. Using his GPS he gave them the coordinates. They told him that they would be there the next day. Jeremiah then went back into the cave and photographed the pages of the journals that Samuel left behind as his legacy. Arriving back in civilization, Jeremiah contacted me and we met over coffee where he told me of his adventures. He asked if I might be interested in seeing the photos of the journals, and of course, I was.

It is excerpts from those journals that I wish to share with you here.

I will do it in several installments (I’m not sure how many yet), beginning with this Editor’s Preface. I hope that you find them as compelling and thought provoking as I have.

As always, though, as in every case, thanks for allowing me to share.



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