As with us all, I am a creature of my raising and that raising includes my geography. My personal topography is the ridge line of the high mountain, the hills and hollows sanded and smoothed by time, the forest-filled, fog-laden vistas, the dark-shadowed surrounding bowl emerging against the night sky.
Not a country girl, I am a mountain woman. I can visit the flat lands of others, but until I return to the surrounding mountains, I never truly relax. Not just any mountains will do; it is from the forested Appalachians, the old woman of the world’s mountains, that my soul draws its sustenance.
When I was 7, my parents gave me a globe for Christmas and I thought it was magic, not because of the many countries in different colors, or even the magnitude of water bodies covering the earth, but because of the raises and bumps and ridges representing the mountains of the world. I could see all the rest, but I could feel the mountains.
That’s how it is in my life: I can and want to see the world, but I feel the mountains. They are with me always, in their absence as well as their presence.
The mountains define my geography as well as their own.
Many experience vastness of God surveying the ocean and I have as well. But standing before the ocean fills me with the dread of God; surveying the seemingly unending ocean of mountain tops fills me with God’s providing and God’s comfort.
Before both oceans and mountains, I stand small. But before mountains, I stand assured, assured that my smallness is blessing rather than curse, providing rather than depriving, fullness rather than want.