Natalie Ogbourne

LeHardy Rapids

Walking under a canopy of lodgepole pines, I heard the melody of the rapids long before we reached the river. Although the day was sunny and dry, the season had been wet, and the ferns flourished in the shade bestowed by the towering trees lining the bank. Here at LeHardy Rapids, the Yellowstone River is tranquil and wide—showing a different face than it presents as it plunges over the Upper and Lower Falls on its race through the park’s Grand Canyon. We strolled along the water, our footsteps silent on the damp dirt trail, taking in the scent of pine and the sound of music. When we came to a tall railing, we stopped to watch the sun shimmering on the surface. 


Water stops are always long for our family and I am always ready to move on long before my husband. So I did. I wandered down the trail, leaving him to watch for trout as the river unwound itself again and again on its journey toward the canyon and the far edge of the park. Making my way down the path, I passed through sunbeams breaking softly through the sheltering pines, casting their illuminating glow on the moss thriving on the branches. 

It all looked so healthy and whole. It wasn’t until I turned to go back to my husband, still standing at the railing, that I noticed a sign:


Situated on the ground, it wasn’t easily seen.

A Closer Look

Here’s what was interesting: The trail itself looked fine. It was the area around it that was in rough shape. The foliage was shorter and some places were bare, worn by the feet of those who left the official trail to walk down to the water. From a distance, this place, too, looked healthy and whole. Only with a close look could you see that the edges were frayed.

Maybe you know what that’s like. I know I do. 

Matthew Henry wrote this: “There is a great deal to be learned from what we see every day, if we would but consider it.”  While places like Yellowstone may not be part of our every day, they are filled with the makings of what we do see every day—water, trees, sun, earth, and signs among them. We can learn a little more of what it means to navigate the ups and downs of actual, everyday life by faith from this little sign along the path at LeHardy Rapids. We have only to “consider it.”

Le Hardy Reflection


It’s May, the reputed Mother of All Transitions. 

That may well be a well-deserved reputation. Deserved or not, the longer I live, the more obvious it is that life is one long series of transitions. We’re always making our way from one thing or age or stage to the next. It’s important to pay attention to these transitions. The little ones. The big ones. The ones in-between. 

Whether this month delivers a mega-level transition or a moderate-level summer-is-just-different type, it’s a great time to take a moment to look around. Ponder your figurative path. Check your trajectory. Assess the borders and boundaries to see if they need some shoring up, some attention, or maybe—like the trail at LeHardy Rapids—some rest. 

🧭 Look around: What is the most healthy and whole way to navigate the landscape of your life as it is right now? 

take heart &  happy trails ~ Natalie

p.s. For you . . . Whispers in the Wilderness: an audio tale from the trail. Get yours here.