Why do I love the mountains so? I was walking through the forest this morning, and I saw that brass plate on the tree which I have mentioned before. The one which says (loosely) that "Here you can see His greatest work". And every time I see it, my breath catches. You can. See.
I love the mountains for the silence.
The overwhelming peace.
The sounds I hear fill my soul. In the silence, I hear the mountains. They change with the seasons, and yet their solidity remains unchanged. Their essence.
The snow drops from the branches above me onto my head as I stand still and breathe. Welcoming me. Under my feet, the snow crunches as I walk. Beneath the ice of the waterfalls, I hear the whisper of trickling water. Life is not frozen solid after all. There is hope of life under all that ice.
Isn't life like that too? Beneath the surface, stuff is happening, albeit very quietly at times. You have to be still to hear those murmurs.
So all my senses engage. My eyes try to write the scene before them on my very soul. My ears listen for those those whispers. I smell the cold, yet sense the life beneath the ice. I taste the melting snow brushing my lips. I touch the frozen trunk of the pine tree at my special place.
I try to take a photograph which will remind me of this time. This place. But how can I capture the essence of why I go to the mountains?
The majesty is too great. The beauty too bright. The mountains too high, reaching for heaven.
And as I walk, the words of the song from the Sound of Music play through my mind, and slip out of my mouth, and I sing softly as I walk slowly. And today, the words seemed special.
"The hills are alive with the sound of music
With songs they have sung for a thousand years.
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music
My heart wants to sing every song it hears.
My heart wants to sing too, here, up in the mountains. Rocks that have been here for thousands and thousands of years are right before my eyes. I hear their song..........
My heart wants to beat like the wings
Of the birds that rise from the lake to the trees,
My heart wants to sigh like a chime that flies from a church on a breeze,
Oh listen........... I hear the bells of the Kloster ringing out over the valley, echoing off the mountain walls..................
To laugh like a brook when it trips and falls
Yes..............I hear it...........
Over stones on its way
Oh yes, the laughter of pure joy bubbles up inside me........
To sing through the night like a lark who is learning to pray.
Little birds dart through the trees. I hear their wings as they fly. And I hear their soft song of joy.......
I go to the hills when my heart is lonely,
I know I will hear what I've heard before.
The constancy is so reassuring in my uncertain world..................
My heart will be blessed with the sound of music
And I'll sing once more."
Life seems frozen at times, and it is hard to break out from under the ice, but as long as the heart sings now and then, there is hope and here, away from the challenges of life, I remember. Each reminder cracks the ice a little more.
And when the time comes, this is where I will come to weep all those tears which have refused to fall. One day. Because it is here that I feel I can.
I know why those Benedictine monks stayed when they found this valley, nestled high up in the mountains. I know why I keep coming back. I know why this place has a simple slogan.