Thought for the Week – 16th July 2023
In the Cloud
Last Saturday, I took a chance on the weather forecast and drove out to Wales, to walk up Cader Idris. I wanted to repeat a walk I last did thirty years ago; following a path up the north side of the hill. When I set off, it was warm and dry but the top of hill was covered in cloud. I got caught in one sharp shower and the summit was still in mist when I got there. I ate my sandwiches in the hut at the top of the hill and then started to pick my way back down. About 100 feet below the summit, just after a rocky scramble, I paused and then became aware that the cloud was moving. I did wonder if the whole mountain was going to clear and whether I should go back to the top; it didn’t and, fortunately, I didn’t. Instead I simply stood for about 10 minutes, watching the mist swirl, catching glimpses of the panorama of the valley below, the sharp rocks on the cliff face next to the path. I was caught up in the moment; focussing on the detail of the mountain, sharing in its intimacy and its mystery. Hill walkers usually curse low cloud, but there are times when I think it enhances a climb.
I’m not sure you actually need to climb a mountain to find something of wonder in mist; I’ve had similar experiences walking to the station on a foggy morning. There is something spiritual, mystical, about being in a cloud. In the late 14th century, an unknown mystic wrote a book called “The cloud of unknowing”, about entering a spiritual cloud to better experience the mystery of God. The next time you find yourself in mist, if you can pause to enjoy the mystery, the wonder and that which I call God.
Rev David Poyner