I went to the top of a volcano today.
The ride up was spectacular. (Note I said, “ride.” Last time I visited a volcano, I hiked to the top. Let this show all that I am capable of learning.)
Volcanoes are rather awe-inspiring. Inspiring enough to get people of another era to toss in the occasional chaste lady.
The ride up inspired us to toss in a cd of G-d focused music. Listening to Katie Freeze’s compositions on These Are the Days is easier on the conscience than that whole virgin thing.
Some of Katie’s lyrics fit the mood of the moon-lit drive perfectly, such as “surprising stillness…” However, I was more drawn to her “Domine,” a soaring requiem – pure, crystalline, haunting.
I think I needed Latin to express the inexpressible of the soul as we ascended above the clouds, each curve in the road opening up a new expanse of shadowed glory.
The moon turned red, dimming the natural light as we climbed out of the car. We bundled up against the cold – we had traveled 8,000 feet and descended over thirty degrees.
Catherine had to use a flashlight to help us navigate to the crater’s edge. We were surrounded by people, yet how many and who would have to wait until sky lightened some.
We found a space at the rail, enough for Catherine to squeeze in. I pushed in behind her, partly to secure my own view of the East, partly for warmth, partly to make sure I didn’t lose her in the darkness.
We arrived none too soon; the sky began to lighten. The crater and the island below us were covered in clouds; the light only showed us what there wasn’t to see. The white of the clouds acted as a balance to the shifting colors of the sky.
It was light enough now to see those around us. The couple from Maryland, celebrating their 43rd wedding anniversary by freezing on the mountain top. The Indian father trying to corral his four giggling daughters (straight from Bride and Prejudice) into a picture frame around the lightening sky. The bored girl to our left, huddled under her dad’s arm, accepting embarrassment in exchange for warmth.
All of us looking out, waiting for it to happen.
The girls were giggling again. I glanced about, only to confirm that they weren’t being silly. This was funny. There were, what? A hundred or so of us, all uncomfortable, all tired from waking in the middle of the night to make the journey. All for what?
To see a ball rise above the clouds. As if, maybe, this one time the ball would surprise us and not make an appearance.
Pretty silly, pretty strange, pretty funny.
Someone said “Whoa.” Those that weren’t already staring turned.
A sliver of Sol had hit the horizon.
One of the girls let out a “it’s coming, it’s coming!” It wasn’t giggly. It wasn’t sarcastic or bored. It was pure awe – the ball was coming.
The sun broke the horizon. What would have been greeted with applause were it man-made fireworks was instead greeted by a corporate hush. The mere beauty of it – the majesty, the color, the simple splendor – took all of us by surprise, even though we knew it was coming, even though we knew it would be beautiful, even though we knew.
Rob Bell says, “Beauty can be crushing sometimes, can’t it?”
The natives broke out into song – one of welcome and blessing.
I appreciated their song, as my heart didn’t want to form its own words of welcome or blessing.
And still I did not want to borrow their words. So my heart borrowed Katie’s.
Domine, Jesu Criste.
Just my thoughts,