“And remember, as it was written, to love another person is to see the face of God.” Les Miserables
I live in Switzerland. Seeing beautiful views can be a daily occurrence here. One day though, driving up to the ski resort town of Leysin, a view changed the way I thought about nature and the world we live in. The way I felt that day will never let me forget what I saw.
It was late afternoon, the December sun was setting behind the majestic mountains that grace the little Swiss nation. I cleared the steep winding mountain road, and leveled on the clearing going into the little town with its chalets dotting the hillside. When all of a sudden, I turned the corner and right in front of me, filling the sky and the earth, I saw what to me was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. I could not keep driving. I stopped the car on the side of the road and got out into the cold, forgetting my jacket on the passenger seat. There was no time for jackets, there was only time for what was in front of me. I found that not one car continued going on the only road leading to Leysin, we were all stopped on the side of the road, all fascinated, silent. Some took out cameras and phone cameras to capture what must have been the most beautiful sight to decorate the heavens above Leysin. I didn’t care to take a photo, I wanted to soak it all in, taking a mental picture of what nature was capable of offering. There was definitely something divine in the glorious picture of scattered clouds above the mountains, flooded with orange, red, pink, with a background of a dark blue sky and deep white snow-capped mountains all around. An explosion of color and beauty. God must have worked for hours to produce the art we saw before us, that mesmerized us. He outdid Himself that day. Nothing I have seen before or since can even compare to that sunset in the Swiss mountains, it was too overwhelming. Had you been there, you would have been silent, absorbing the perfection, the beauty, the goodness of it all. It was so gorgeous it hurt. It did hurt. We were all standing there wishing time could stand still, we never wanted it to finish, we were collectively willing it to be frozen in space. But it ended, the sky got darker after several minutes, the earth turned as it was ordained to do by the divine powers that be, and the magic was gone, disappearing into thin air, abracadabra-ed by a powerful invisible Houdini.
I never forgot that day. I wonder how many of us have really been captivated by a scene, a friendship, a relationship, a love, so beautiful, so unique, so once in a lifetime spectacular occurrence, that we feel blessed to have experienced it, but so infinitely sad to have lost it? How many of us have really lived a time of absolute passion, love that is so extreme, that we felt like we were part of nature, part of that amazing sunset, so close to the divine that we ourselves were sacred. It is when you lose touch with reality, when for a moment of glory, you only think of that beautiful thing in your life, soak it all in, and be grateful that you were there, that it happened to you.
No matter how short a time it lasted, you lived it, you experienced it, and for that you should thank the heavens. As I stood there watching the brilliant scene in the sky, tears were rolling down on my face, a stinging reminder of the cold evening air. I never realized the magnitude of what had just happened until I got back in the car when it was all finished and people around me went slowly back to the mundane after having had a glimpse of the sacred, the Godly, beauty at its extreme. I sat there and cried some more. I don’t usually cry. I take it as a sign of weakness. When my grandmother died, I didn’t cry, I am embarrassed to admit that, but I at times explained it to myself philosophically that she was an old lady and it was a natural ending to life. There were many times and instances when I should’ve cried but I didn’t. That day in Leysin I did. And recently I have been crying a lot. It is like a fountain of my soul’s deepest feelings has been opened and let free. I am not sorry I re-learnt to express emotion by crying, but when you are faced with such an amazing once in a lifetime event that marks your life, you cry. It is a cry of jubilation, of thanking the heavens that you were blessed to experience intense feeling, love, friendship, creativity, whatever it is that was so out of the ordinary that you feel blessed to have had it.
When you eventually have to let go of that magical episode in your life, try to hold on to what it felt like. Whether it was a relationship, a friendship, a creative episode, your childhood, whatever was once amazingly wonderful in your life. Hold on to the part worth holding on. Keep it in a safe place, and move on. Who’s to say it will never happen again. Maybe I need to drive to the mountains again at the same time every year hoping to capture it again, and maybe not, maybe the memory should stay as unique as it was, maybe unique happenings are supposed to happen only once. Maybe that’s the way it was supposed to be.
Keep dreaming, keep waiting for the magic. You never know.