Monday, September 3, 2012

We Have Sufficiently Seized This Day

Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero ~ Horace

We were about a quarter ways up the skylift to the peak of Natural Bridge, Kentucky. The silence was broken by a rush of wind through the trees. Caleb asked me, "what is that?" I grimaced and shut my eyes as I answered, "rain is coming." Within seconds we were helplessly pelted with torrents of rain. There was nothing we could do but sit and let it fall down on us. The temperature dropped and we sat there laughing and shivering. Caleb then said, "well, this won't be so bad unless the skylift stops again." And... of course, on cue it stopped. It was like the universe was aligned to give us this moment. The ride stopped and the skies opened up with renewed vigor. The rain soaked us to the skin.

After a few moments of nervous laughter and some self-talk to maintain a light attitude in the face of some nasty weather in a vulnerable situation... the ride started back up as the rain eased to a gentle mist. I think we both relaxed a little as genuine smiles returned to our faces. We had weathered the storm. Today was our last full day on our retreat... and we were intent to make the most of it.

Well... by the shade of our legs, the rain was probably safer for us than intense sunlight. The remainder of the ride was smooth and enjoyable for this father and his son. Kellie and Aleksandra were above us, as well as the Roh family, experiencing the same event. As much of life... the worries of possibilities known and unknown yield to a quiet reality and our feet once again touched solid ground.

The view at the top of any given mountain is always remarkable. You can see where you have been... and you can see even places where you did not reach. The scope of your existence is reconciled with the appropriate scale and the moment's pause seems to stretch beyond the mere present ticking of the clock. I looked at that panorama as I stood with my family and I saw far beyond the mountains and the sky. Creation itself seemed to speak out to me and tell me to recognize that my life is now being led. We are given this life to live.

We rode back down the lift and I began making random animal sounds with Caleb sitting quietly next to me. I tried a dog, and a goat before imitating monkey hoots and screams with gusto. Suddenly, unseen along the ridge... some hiker along the path answered back with an  incredibly loud monkey-style reply! Caleb cracked up laughing and soon we had multiple participants screeching and hooting monkey noises up and down the canyon walls. It was amazing... Jane Goodall, you should have been there.

Back at the cabin I noticed storm clouds again rolling in and I grabbed my hat and ran to the refrigerator. It was a personal goal of mine to grill steaks over an open fire... cowboy style. I knew that I had to race the weather to get this done. I stoked the fire, built the grate over the pit and laid the first steak to sizzle as the sky again opened up. It was a race of flipping steaks and wiping water as the intense heat of the fire bested the falling water.

Flipping steaks, chicken, & burgers in the rain!
Perspectives from Kellie
Completed... safe from lightening and minus some leg hair

The whole group stood up on the porch and watched the crazy guy in a roll up hat cooking steak over a massive wood-fire in the pounding rain. The intense fire of the wood made for delicious steaks that were flame-licked and juicy. I am not sure... but I think the rain on the surface of the steak while the flame licked the bottom, somehow added a perfect kind of tenderness. We ate with mouths full as we laughed about the rain and how we moved forward in spite of it. I think I changed clothes 3 times today, but we grapped this moment and rode it for all we could get while most sensible folks hunkered down in dryness.

To warn against the danger
That overtaken lovers
From being overflooded
With happiness should have it.
And yet not know they have it.
R. Frost 

 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; 
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
~John 10:10

Make today your one-day.
Seize the day.

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