Friday, February 02, 2007

GBA(s)FC Entry #3

No Other Senses
by Rich (A.K.A. Dirk Diggler)

Our excursion so far held little promise. I was sure I'd followed the directions as given by local guides, who in years past had shown us the oft overlooked treasures within the Smoky Mountains. This time we lacked their presence, on our own in the pitch night forest hoping to witness a miracle of nature that occurs in only two places in the world: some remote location in Southeast Asia, and here in the Elkmont area of the Smokies.

We were joined by a family from Atlanta we'd met during our trip. Occupying the adjacent campsite, David and Lisa were a lovely couple with four daughters close in age to our three. My wife Shawn and I introduced ourselves after their girls buddied with ours to explore the campground together. They were pleasant folk. And while quite involved with their church back home, their sense of humor assured me they would not be preachy or judgemental. While faith has always been a series of seemingly unanswerable questions for me, it was an absolute certainty for them. I envied their confidence and welcomed their friendship. Our respective family itineraries were soon reconciled, and we spent the remainder of our vacation in good company.

Thirty minute's walk from our vehicles, we peered through the trees that lined the road. I was beginning to sense our group suspecting my ability to find our destination. In an attempt to deflect the ire of my companions, I announced, "Nature is calling," and proceeded ahead, wandering off the road toward privacy.

Breaking through the clutches of intertwined branches, I found a clearing. Looking up the open face of the mountain, I stood in awe. Alas, the magic.

"I found it!" I shouted. "It's here!"

The group ran toward my voice, climbing through the thicket to join me. One by one we reconvened. The crackling of dried leaves and twigs ceased, and at once it was quiet. Complete silence. Not even the children would utter.

A multitude of fireflies, synchronously flashing, created waves of light that started near the summit, then poured down and around us like lava from a volcano. Luminous waves swept over and back in beautiful arcs. Then suddenly it stopped. Darkness. Seconds later, the orchestra of light reprised. A pageant like no other was being performed before us, and we marveled at every feat.

I struggled to hear it, wanting some other sense to acknowledge the phenomenon. Fireworks create light, noise. You feel the concussion, smell the aftermath. Lightning has its thunder. Certainly this event must have some accompanying soundtrack. Tightening my eyelids, I dared my ears. Nothing. This indeed was a spectacle for the eyes only.

There we stood, tacit for what seemed hours as cascades of light cycled with moments of blackness. Resting my hand on my daughter's neck, I looked down to absorb her amazement. I felt Shawn's arm reaching around my waist. I turned to her and kissed her.

"Awesome God," proclaimed Lisa, breaking the silence with a mere whisper. I couldn't disagree.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like the phrasing in this one. I like the way it draws you in to something really big.

_Janet H