Climbing along the ridge of the mountain I tried to keep my footing; the slope was sleep and the footing precarious as moist grass and moss combined with loose gravel making the journey dangerous. My heart was filled with sheer joy and exhilaration. For a brief wonderful moment, adulthood caution was cast aside, giving way to the innocence of childhood joy wonder and adventure. I stopped momentarily and surveyed the majestic scene before my very eyes.White pure light diffused by the clouds cast its heavenly glow everywhere. The slope beneath me was very steep and disappeared into the clouds. Despite its beauty and magnificence this mountain could be potentially treacherous to the unsuspecting traveller. Surrounded by clouds on every side, stretching out in all directions towards the majestic Alps, the experience was truly overwhelming. I pause for a long while lost in thought and in total peace; I wanted to embed this beautiful moment within my heart for all time.
Alone, perched upon a rock I lay still. The serenity that filled my mind soothed my thoughts, easing the burdens of life that occasionally threaten to engulf one. Surrounded by beauty of such magnificence, I became aware of my own insignificance, a lone figure, standing at the edge of the world looking out towards vast Heaven and Earth. In silence, permeated by the gentle winds and sound of water breaking I lay still in contemplation. As the sun waned, its glory shone ever so brightly, casting forth its magnificent rays, illuminating and penetrating the depths of my heart. I dared to pause and glimpse the immense beauty of Creation, a gift so beautiful that my soul stirred with immense joy, rejoicing in His presence.
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.”
“My thoughts with ease I did cast away
On that serene and most glorious day
When looking afar my eyes did glance
Heavens flawless splendour by fleeting chance
In silence, I lay still and dared contemplate
Pure, eternal beauty that God did consecrate
The gentle winds danced and caressed my face
As heavens glory embraced me with loving grace
The sun burst forth, casting its golden rays
My heart stirred deeply, my soul did praise
He who created such a divine and magnificent tapestry
Christ, Lord of Heaven and Earth, in all His glorious majesty”
I paused, perched high on top a lone boulder by the shore, fearless, oblivious to the waves which menacingly splashed around me. It was if a sea of white foam coursed all around, engulfing everything in its path and then retreating albeit hesitantly into the depths of the Ocean. Looking afar, a series of enormous cliffs rose defiantly from a narrow isthmus projecting into the deep blue sea. Proud they stood, mystical rock formations beautifully cast against the brilliant blue clouds that were strewn across Heaven itself. The winds danced wildly amidst the boulders rising occasionally into a crescendo at once in harmony with the sound of waves splashing around me. There are moments of sheer beauty when one must pause and be silent, for only in silence can one even dare to contemplate true beauty. A silence which commands our every sense and manifests the magnificence of Creation in all its splendour. I sat in silence for long moments; deep from within my mind, heart and soul resonated the words… “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Walking slowly through an old narrow laneway in the Altstadt, I paused in astonishment. The facades of the buildings were so archaic, unique and unlike anything that I had experienced. “. The street was almost hidden, barely noticeable connecting the arcades to the Old Marketplace, renown for its goldsmiths that long ago peddled their antique craft in the many shops that line the roadway. Beautifully designed and decorated medieval and baroque facades adorned with religious ornaments and intricately designed cast iron signs of artisans selling their wares were everywhere to be seen. Bouquets of neatly arranged colourful flowers lined the elegant buildings in this romantic picturesque thoroughfare, manifesting an atmosphere that was at once archaic yet romantic to behold.
Passing through the domed gate of the castle wall, I walked around the magnificent ramparts that rose high above the city, perched on an exceedingly steep cliff. Walking up the steep cliff face had been long and arduous, however the experience was breathtaking to behold. The view overlooking the “Alt Stadt” was truly amazing to behold. Resplendent green domes of magnificent churches, blended beautifully with the brilliant Baroque and Classical designed buildings painted in a myriad of earthy colours. The soft light of the late afternoon, diffused by clouds manifested a dreamy almost mystical atmosphere. Yonder, a river wound its way through the city, marking its downward journey from the distant mountains, far away on the horizon. I paused for long moments in silence; my reverie cast me back centuries as the cool wind played about my face, oblivious to the distant sound of muffled footsteps.
Pausing on the bridge oblivious to the sound of traffic, I looked out yonder towards the “Altstadt” nestled by the banks of the serene river. Having finished exploring the picturesque lane ways and brilliant Baroque facades of buildings dating back to the Medieval and Renaissance periods, I stood in silence for long moments surveying the amazing scene that unfolded before me. Spellbound, the elegance and sophistication of the city forcefully imprinted a scene of rare beauty within my mind. A radiant sunny day cast forth its rays, illuminating an amazing mosaic of clouds that decorated Heaven itself. Below, archaic beautifully coloured Baroque buildings, vibrant church domes and spires beautifully complemented the rolling hills, richly coloured trees and blue sky with its brilliant clouds. It was one of those rare and beautiful moments forever imprinted within my heart, as the brilliance of European culture manifested in all its glory.