Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Mountaintop

There was no rationally defensible reason for our display of unabashed hilarity. We were two individuals; seated at a round patio table (perhaps with an umbrella stemmed in its center… some tables had them… I do not recall if ours did); on a fall afternoon in a town whose name I no longer recall; overlooking an unknown river; and both caught up in a giddy bout of laughter that was triggered by our notice of some tattered and frayed remnants of curtains fluttering from the window of a nondescript, abandoned building across that river. The silly fluttering of those window rags seemed to express the fluttering in our hearts. We looked at each other in silent agreement and understanding of our shared feelings, and just had to laugh for joy. The simple fact was that … we were happy in a childishly simple and innocent way! We were expressing a new-to us-both wave of free and unencumbered delight. This was an experience unlike any that either of us had ever known. It was a glorious mountaintop moment! And it spoiled me forever.

For, My Dear Reader, I can never settle for anything less. I have been to “the mountaintop.” And she and I considered our moment carved from the routine “time and space” of our “normal” lives. “We cannot live all of our lives on the mountaintop” she said (some space of time after the “laughter moment.” ) And as I considered her point, it became clear to me that living on a mountaintop is not a reasonable expectation. For (as was pointed out recently by a world-class Climber, whilst being interviewed by Charlie Rose, on PBS) the impact of weather’s vagaries is unbearable near the mountain’s peak. He made the point that a prudent and wise Climber knows to establish a “base camp” within easy striking distance of the peak… while being situated in a position sheltered and safe from the buffeting winds of the elements.

And, so it is with us. Those of us who relish the pinnacle moment of the crest of life’s mountain, know that we are best situated for all of life’s changing seasons, at some distance from the top. We can always see that high point… we can savor its recalled thrills… and we maintain our sense of our moments of glorious ecstasy as we revisit it. For, Dear One, once we have known that place of highest experiential reverie… we can never compromise for anything less. Again, in the words of Charlie Rose’s guest “From the top of the highest peak… everything else is Down.”

Thusly, I agree with that wonderful Love of my life in her estimation that the peak is not a place for residence. What I now seek is a place within view of Love’s summit that offers shelter from Life’s storms of circumstance… a “base camp” of day-to-day living… and that requisite, special Someone who makes it possible. The Someone with whom spontaneous and unbridled laughter is as much a living norm as breath itself.

How could I possibly accept anything less?

IMAGES through the gracious courtesy of Jon Sullivan,

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