The climb up the steep and winding path was strenuous. Pausing briefly I surveyed the castle away in the distance, magnificently positioned in an elevated and defensible vantage point, reached only by a narrow and difficult route. “The king who once owned this castle chose his location wisely” I thought to myself. I paused for long moments surveyed the surroundings. Suddenly, I was plunged back centuries into the tales of my childhood. Tales of noble knights on heroic quests and beautiful maidens brought back childhood memories. I smiled to myself, a young boy’s dreams had suddenly come to life. Narrow cobblestone streets were surrounded on either side by old stone buildings. Beautiful coloured bouquets of flowers ordaining balconies, providing a striking contrast to the grey stone buildings complete with red tiled roofs. Cast iron lanterns and street signs, archaic cobblestone pathways and towering stone ramparts manifested a truly medieval experience.
Ascending the steep and difficult path winding path, I finally reached the opposite cliff face after having passed through spectacular forests, bushland and a river which wound its way through a tapestry of grassland, disappearing into the horizon. Continuing along the cliff, the route eventually plateaued and evolved into coastal headland. I stopped in awe at the majestic scenery. Windswept plains eventually gave way to steep cliffs, comprising colossal stacks and boulders of weathered red granite, that plunged into the vast ocean depths. Massive waves fanned out across the ocean, as far as the eye could see, while the chorus of winds heralded the gathering of storm clouds, wove a majestic tapestry magnificent to behold. I looked out past the forested cliff to the seacoast and vast mysterious ocean. Standing upright, the wind buffeted me wildly wrapping around my body in a rough embrace. I cried out in exhilaration, rejoicing at the beauty of Creation, outstanding beautiful and awesome to behold. I thought “It’s great to be alive”.
Solemnly approaching the cliff edge, I was acutely aware of my insignificance, a lone figure surrounded by the vast expanse of Heaven. The silence had a depth that merely enhanced the tapestry of profound beauty that lay before me. Wisps of wind gently caressed my face as I gazed yonder awestruck. There are times when mere words are unable to reflect reality. Somehow Dostoyevsky’s words “Beauty will save the World”, reflecting a loving God as manifested in the majestic beauty and gift of Creation resonated with vivid clarity. All that is required is purity of heart, born of humility and love for such words to penetrate the depths of ones heart and soul
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. (John 8:12)
There are brief but cherished moments in ones life whereby one rejoices in the sheer beauty of Creation. Precious moments, pure in essence, filled with awesome power, that manifest a loving God, allowing the psalmist’s words to penetrate the depths of ones soul.
The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)
As I wearily wound my way towards the mountain, the last rays of light burst through the clouds heralding sunset . Thick mysterious clouds of mist were everywhere to behold, surrounding me, their beautiful white hue and cold sensation, struck the core of my being. Long moments seemed to pass as my mind continually urging my exhausted body onward till finally I approached the summit. Fatigued yet exhilarated I glanced over towards the horizon where the glory of the sun was fading behind the mountains. The evening light created a natural tapestry of immense beauty. Silhouettes of trees lining the mountainside intermingled with the soft fading light and drifting wisps of angelic clouds. Such raw beauty was truly inspirational to behold; I stood for long moments staring into the horizon. In silence so profound, I stood at the edge of the world as Dostoevsky’s words “Beauty will save the World” resonated in the depths of my soul.
The flow of distant water was a melody that mingled effortlessly and blended gracefully with the song of birds lifting and falling away with the chorus of the wind. Descending the steep slope, I brushed past the splendid fronds of magnificent tree palms that graced my path forming a natural cathedral. The cool wind on my face provided relief from my tired muscles; the trek had been long and arduous yet every step manifested great joy as I rejoiced at the Garden of Eden that surrounded me. The once distant sound of churning of waters gradually became more noticeable and as the dense tree ferns gently gave way to sparser flora, I suddenly found myself in a pool of clear fresh water. The noise of flowing water grew louder and as I looked up a magnificent waterfall amidst a tropical rainforest cascaded forth in all its beauty.
The winding track from the campsite quickly changed drastically as I walked towards the coastline. On either side rolling forested hills gave way to coastal grassland, broken by a meandering river that wound its way effortlessly towards the ocean. Looking out yonder towards the distant mountains I was captivated by the stark contrast in landscape. Magnificent clouds strewn across Heaven, crowned the distant mountains. I paused in silence for long moments; there was no need for words. Nature itself lifted its voice in a melodic chorus of profound beauty. The gentle churning of the water, mingled with the fleeting whisper of the wind dancing about, rustling through the treetops and blades of grass. It was quite a long time before I reluctantly continued my walk into the virgin wilderness that lay before me.