Nature Notes

Volume XVI - 1950

The Prodigal's Prayer
By Hugh Peyton, Park Ranger

Take me back, O Mountains,
    Let your gods be mine again
I've felt the fangs of doubt
    In the muddled creeds of men.
I've seen their spires spring
    From cities steeped in sin,
And trodden pulseless pavements,
    And mingled with the din.
I've gazed on grand cathedrals
    That man has built to God
With aisles colored crimson
    Where feet of War have trod.
I've felt mad oceans roll,
    Watched them curl and foam,
Now I'm wander-weary -
    O Mountains, take me home.
O, let your lone trails lure me
    From the fevered call of men;
Blend me with your mysteries;
    Make me one with you again.
Lead me through sylvan stillness
    To my cabin by the stream,
Let me dream again at twilight
    When the golden embers gleam.
Let your vastness be my temple,
    And your ermine peaks the shrines,
All wrapped in wordless worship,
    And plumed with frosted pines.
And let me ride your ranges' rim
    Whose moonlit marvels rise,
Works of God there is no doubting,
    Etched against the skies.
Let me hear your winds at twilight,
    With their vesper voice sublime,
As they brush the chords of space
    To the velvet dance of time.
Let the sunsets tip my shrines,
    With a glowing glaze of gold;
Robe my soul in silken silence,
    Let me worship as of old.
Take me back, O Mountains,
    Till my earthly trail is done,
Then shroud me in the shadows
    Of the crimson setting sun.
Encoffin me in hush eternal,
    Bury me deep in sylvan gloom,
Let a summit be my headstone,
    Let a canyon be my tomb.

During the past two summer seasons, Protestant church services were held each Sunday in the Community House on the rim. On several occasions "The Prodigal's Prayer" by Hugh Peyton, Superintendent, Millerton Lake National Recreational Area, Friant, California, was read to the audience. There were numerous requests for copies of the poem.

Mr. Peyton was in the U.S. Army during World War I and went through the thick of it in France. He wrote the poem upon his return to the mountains of Montana that he loves so dearly. He served as Park Ranger and Chief Ranger of Glacier National Park before taking over similar duties in Yellowstone National Park. "The Prodigal's Prayer" was published in Glacial Drift, Notes From Glacier National Park, Volume 4, Page 89, 1931.

Crater Lake
Courtesy of Oregon State Highway Commission, Salem, Oregon

Crater Lake Natural History Association

This organization was founded in 1942 to promote and assist the ranger-naturalist program, to further the investigation of subjects of popular interest and importance and to aid in the distribution of information on all subjects pertaining to the park. Toward this end it sponsors NATURE NOTES and makes the following publications available for purchase:

Oh Ranger!, Albright and Taylor$3.00
Exploring Our National Parks, Devereux Butcher (Paper Bound)2.00
Exploring Our National Parks, Devereux Butcher (Cloth Bound)3.50
Meeting the Mammals, Victor H. Cahalane.2.50
Birds of Oregon, Ira N. Gabrielson and Stanley G. Jewett5.00
Mammals of California, Ingles4.00
Pacific Coast Trees, McMinn and Maino.4.00
A Manual of the Higher Plants of Oregon, Morton E. Peck.5.00
A Field Guide to Western Birds, Roger Tory Peterson.3.50
How to Know Your Birds, Roger Tory Peterson.2.00
Amphibians & Reptiles, Pickwell.4.00
Your Western National Parks, Dorr Yeager.3.50
1948 Crater Lake Nature Notes.15
1949 Crater Lake Nature Notes.15
1950 Crater Lake Nature Notes.20
Topographic Map of Crater Lake National Park, (U.S.G.P.I.)
With geological sketch by Francois T. Matthes

Your membership in the association would greatly aid the furtherance of these worthwhile purposes as well as bring you NATURE NOTES without charge. A liberal discount is given to members on all except government publications. The annual membership fee is $2.00.

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