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By the River of No Return:
Meditations from the High Country
by Don Ian Smith
ISBN: 0932773060
113 pages, trade paper
In the rugged mountains that surround his ranch in the wild Salmon River country of Idaho, Don Ian Smith has found an approach to life unsullied by the pressures of civilization that so often push one's thinking out of focus. Here, he says, it is easy to know that God alone is great--that the God who put the mountains on their foundations and the rivers in their beds is also one who feeds his flock like a shepherd and carries the young lamb in his arms.
These meditations show deep insight into the experiences of life, death, hope, frustration, and wonder. All are offered in the simple language of rivers, mountains, and forest, and leave the reader feeling closer to God because this minister-rancher-teacher has found himself close to God in the beauty and majesty of his beloved mountains.

"I remember a wonderful summer morning when the sun was just peeking over the Continental Divide in the east and was coming down the mountain that stands to the west behind Sky Range Ranch. I was in the upper meadow changing the set in my irrigation ditch, hurrying to get it done before breakfast so I could hurry through breakfast, so that I could hurry to my office, so that I could "be on time." Suddenly I discovered a wonderful wild raspberry bush growing by the irrigation ditch. I had not seen it before, and it was loaded with ripe wild raspberries. I remember thinking it would be so good if I just had the time to sit down and eat those raspberries, but of course I didn't have time.
"Then something struck me, almost like a conversion experience. It was as if a voice was speaking to me and it said, if you don't have time to enjoy a lovely thing when you find it--a lovely thing that will soon be gone and cannot wait another day--what is the use of irrigating, and what is the use of having Sky Range Ranch, and what is the use of going to the office, and what is the use of living? So I just took the time to eat those wild raspberries, to enjoy their dew-covered freshness on that morning that was so alive with freshness, beauty, and light that one could be certain that the Creator was still at work in his world."
"There is a fascination in the flight of an eagle. Two pairs of eagles nest near Sky Range Ranch, and their hunting area is the drainage of Withington Creek, which runs through Sky Range. We have spent many pleasant moments watching these eagles making long, lazy circles in the sky. We try to imagine what the eagles are thinking about. Are they hunting or resting or just having fun? For it must be fun to be able to float in the sky, and floating is just what they do. I have watched for a long time without seeing the slightest indication of a wingbeat. The birds are simply riding the air currents, the thermal updrafts, and if you didn't know about updrafts of air, you would proclaim the flight of the big birds to be a miracle in defiance of gravity. No eye can see the power that keeps the eagles in the sky. But the eagle has learned to take advantage of this unseen flow of rising air that will lift him higher and higher without any effort on his part.
"As I have watched the eagles, I have often thought it would be wonderful to have a power that could lift a person up and up, above his troubles and heartache, his shortsightedness and small-mindedness, to where he could just view the whole world and know he could stay above it and have no fear of it. Then I have remembered that we humans do have such a power to sustain us and lift us above our fears. It is the power of God and it can lift up those who trust in him."
"It is good to have books of quiet meditation at a time when theologians and church leaders tend to insist that reality can be found only in our anxious struggles against poverty, prejudice and violence. Mr. Smith is not unsympathetic to the current emphasis on the church's involvement with the world, but he reminds us that the world is more than the secular city."



"In the wild Salmon River country of Idaho one can learn many lessons from God and nature. The pressures of civilization rob many of us of wonderful experiences, but if we will slow down and look around we too can gain great insights, wonder and happiness from people, sights, sounds and experiences surrounding our lives."

----------Norman Vincent Peale, FOUNDATION FOR CHRISTIAN LIVING

(Summer Reading List--June 1967)


"You have a wonderful way of sharing insights that we should have seen ourselves but didn't."

----------Rev. C. L. Cranfill, Methodist pastor


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