Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Dusk and Dawn

We all go outside to watch the sun set. It descends an orange red ball across the sea of mist below. Behind us the high mountains including the ridge to the south which marks the border with Spain and which we will cross tomorrow are illuminated with the final incandescance of dusk. Later I return outside close to midnight and see the bands and patches of snow on those mountains glowing beneath the vaults of stars.

Imagine climbing those mountains at night with no torches, unsure which way to go. The man who runs the refuge tells us that these routes were used not only in the summer but in January and in February too when the snow lay meters deep. I just read the account of an allied airman who crossed the Pyrenees led by a guide only to find the river on the Spanish side in spate. They had to go all the way back and repeat the 17 hour climb days later, but fortunately with success.

In the morning a brilliant blue sky covers the mountains. As we say shacharit certain prayers claim our attention. “Blessed be God who prepares our footsteps, who gives the weary strength”. “Praise God for the heavens, you mountains and all hills”.

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