Seeing the Fallen

Beautiful Demise

Smith Rock State Park in Eastern Oregon is a small space packed with dramatically impressive geologic features. Those sheer cliffs and jagged precipices made no small impression on me, but they weren’t what touched me the most during my single evening at the location. It was small outcrops of rocks catching the last rays of sunlight that first garnered my attention, and then I looked down over the edge of a cliff to discover this scene. It’s a busy and jumbled photograph at first glance, but I hope it begins to unfold even at this small size. The ground below was strewn with things that had fallen. There were giant boulders that had succumbed to freeze-thaw cycles and time, and most of the prostrate trees had been scarred by fire. Even the flowering brush would mirror its skeletal companions before long, and yet, I felt an obvious attraction. It reminds me of the way I believe God sees us. Whether we appear to the world as a strong “boulder” or beyond repair like the trees, we have all fallen in this life to somewhere less than what we were meant to be. God looks down over the edge and manages to see what beauty there is in each person. He wants to make something wonderful out of us in the same way I wanted to make this photograph.