The well-worn trail begins along a crumbling former highway, passes between boulders and rocky paths and at one spot even features its own stone steps. Nonetheless, it is essentially a switchback trail through an arid, grassy field. The switchback reaches near the cliff-edge periodically before returning to safer parts.
There is, however, a whisper of a trail that follows the edge. Rocky, steep, and risky, the almost non-path gives freely of itself if you get close enough to the edge. Though holy, this is not a place for the erratic; the wisp of a trail requires steady, sure footedness particularly in damp weather. It requires risk and a willingness to trust that the Gorge winds will be faithful and gentle near the edge. Coyote Wall’s height is unforgiving.
A mere fifteen feet from the sacred ground – marked by large Zen rocks – the sotto voce trail becomes silent. Guarded by rocks, the silence of the trail physically models the pilgrim’s hushed posture approaching the holy place.
Whether the culmination of my journey is the flowery meadow that overlooks Mt. Hood or the tall firs that crown the Coyote Wall, I always pause at the Zen Rocks. I bask in the warmth of the One who connects me to the ground beneath my feet, the mist that flows over the wall, and who loves with abandon.
Typically, I lay on the ground, arms wide, opening myself to the love that is in the universe. I level with God, confessing sins, and ask for help. I feel the arms of Mother Earth wrap around me. The peace of the Spirit settles over me as my breathing slows and the sunshine or the mist dance on my face.
When I am ready, I rise and continue my journey upward toward the meadow or back down the wall to my daily life.