It does not surprise me that our ancient kindred perceived mountaintops as the place where God resides. There is something mystical in the jutting face of mountains. There is something that calls to me when I am within sight of snowy peaks.
I often worry that I will drive off the road when in view of the snow-covered mountains of the Cascade Range, especially Oregon’s Mt. Hood. I struggle to keep my eyes on the road and off the divine curves of the rising rock..
Perhaps, the allure is stronger for me because, though I spent some of my childhood under its watchful gaze, most of my growing up years were in the mid-south and mid-west. Those regions of the country have much beauty but snow-capped peaks are not among them.
As I was hiking and climbing the rocks of Horsethief Butte in Washington state this morning, I tweeted that,
I always feel safe hiking and climbing when I know that Mt. Hood is watching over me. When I nearly lost my way, when anxiety began to well up while hiking Mt. Defiance late last summer, my mood changed once I glimpsed Hood. I immediately knew where I was. I was no longer lost; Mt. Hood was with me. This parallels the comfort and relief I feel when I perceive God is with me.
Climbing and hiking this morning, the craggy rocks demanded my attention. The flowers that graced cliff face and meadow alike beckoned me to remember that though my mountain god watches from afar, God is within all of creation. God is in the resurrecting flowers of spring. God is in the buzzing flies and the rattlesnake who calls Horsethief Butte home.
God is in the tiny lavender flowers and the purple mountain. God is within me, within you, and between all that is.
that is an interesting perspective. I understand it, too. I was born in the Bay Area in California, and lived there until I was eleven years old. My grandparents lived in Reno Nevada from the time i was really little. On our way to visit them we went up into the Sierra Mountains. I remember Donner Pass, and also a small town called Truckee. I loved going up into those mountains. They had an atmosphere/ presence about them, too. I was not able to make the same spiritual connection at the time, though, because I was so young and although I was a believer, we weren’t a church going family at the time, and I only possessed a very basic knowledge about anything Biblical. Nevada was the farthest east I had ever been driven.
Then we moved to Northwest Arkansas. We had never visited Arkansas before…we just moved out there after a friend told us about it. The area we moved to was somewhat hilly and had some really tall hills with funny flat tops. I found out later that they were actually mountains…mountains with no summits if you can imagine that (which must seem odd), but nonetheless, they were official mountains. However, it was a spiritual experience for me to cross over the state line at Fort Smith just a few minutes after sunrise. It was the first or second week of June in 1978. I just happened to look out the window of the U-Haul and saw this lush green expanse, and then a little cottontail rabbit hopped quickly from the roadside into some tall grass. My mouth just dropped open as I looked all around. I had seen this place before…in a book…at the doctors office….that little blue Bible story book! Except that picture had included Eve reaching up to pick an apple out of a tree. We had driven to Eden! I will never forget that. The hills were not tall and rolling like in California, but they were not bald and brown, or black or on fire like the ones i was accustomed to. These hills were so thickly covered with trees and flowers that when looking off in the distance you couldn’t hardly see any land in-between them. But I really do know what you mean about those tall mountains.
Then in June of 2009 I drove to Wichita, Kansas. I had never been to Kansas. It was so flat…not many trees, but pretty and green with this huge blue sky. There was this really strange effect there. It was as if Heaven instead of being a place you go “up” to, was rather a place you might walk “in” to if you should take many steps either to your left or your right. I sensed the Lord’s presence there, too. 🙂