While in the Drakensberg mountains I get up most mornings before sunrise and make my way up a ‘small’ mountain that takes about 30 minutes walk from the chalet. From the top of this mountain I watch the sun rise. I am alone in the silence of nature and I witness the start of a beautiful day.
I have just returned from a 3-day visit to the mountains. We had a lot of rain. And the cloud cover did not give the sun much opportunity to shine as it usually does in sunny South Africa.
I awoke early on the last morning to walk up the mountain, desperately wanting to see the sun rise. It had been raining on the two previous mornings. I looked out of the window in the hope that the weather had changed. It was still dark but I could see that there was a thick blanket of mist outside. The visibility was poor. I felt disappointed and wondered whether I should go on the walk. It looked cold outside. It was 5am and I decided to go back to bed instead. As I lay in bed, I felt torn. I wanted to see the sun rise but knew that it was pointless to go up the mountain. I wasn’t going to see anything. I couldn’t relax in bed and after about 5 minutes I got up again, got dressed and left the chalet to make my way up the mountain.
Every sun rise has been different. Every image has been unique. Today I was going to have another unique experience.
It can be dangerous walking in the mountains when there is thick mist with poor visibility. But I knew my way. There was also a path that guided my every step. While walking up, I was hoping that I would see a spectacular image of the sun revealing itself on the horizon as a bright ball of orange/red in the sea of mist.
I arrived on top of the mountain and knew that the sun was about to rise. It was 05h40. But the mist had thickened. I could not see further than a couple of metres in front of me.
I have included the picture above to give you some sense of the murkiness and greyness that stood between me and the beauty of a sunrise.
As I sat on a rock looking out, but not seeing anything it felt as if I entered a trance. The mist had forced me to look internally. And as I did this, I became aware of one predominant thought that was playing itself over and over again. There is beauty beyond the mist. I knew this because I had been up this mountain so many times before. I knew what the vista was like as I stood looking out in the distance. I knew that the sun was ‘out there’ revealing itself in its unique splendour. I knew this all. There was beauty that was presently being hidden by the mist. Knowing that there was beauty beyond the mist, was so reassuring as I sat on the rock looking out. I felt peaceful being enveloped in the mist. It too had a beauty. It covered me like a blanket; wrapping me up as one does a baby who is about to sleep.
I thought more about the nature of mist. It does not impede movement, but it does hamper vision. To move in mist, one needs to trust the internal vision that knows (or has faith) that a beauty exists that is presently being covered by the mist. By its nature, mist cannot endure. In time mist moves off, it lifts, it evaporates and with it the beauty that has been covered is revealed.
I found myself thinking of the work that I do in therapy. Problems tend to have a misty feel about them. No clear vision is possible. One cannot see out into the distance. The mist closes in. It forces one to ‘look inside’. As one turns the vision inward, this needs to be coupled with faith (or a knowing) that a beauty always exists beyond the mist.
But what if you have not experienced or seen or know that a beauty exists beyond the mist? Then your faith will be tested at the critical moment when your vision (or dreams) are being threatened. I returned from my walk with a deeper sense of faith in the life process.