Saturday morning 5am, and the sun is not yet up. Somewhere nearby a smartphone buzzes persistently at me, trying its best to drag me out of bed and down to the car. For this is the day that I will meet the lovely daughter and hike the mountain. Her mountain. Circumstances have contrived to give us time not only for a hike, but for a breakfast as well. No responsibilities for at least 3 hours! It can hardly be believed. But I believe it, and take myself unsteadily down the stairs and to the dark garage.
We meet. We walk, and then hike gradually upwards toward the Cross that is our goal. There are bends in the road and so we cannot always see our goal, but we know it is there waiting. We talk and laugh about the good and the tough bits of life, and feel comforted. There is something very right about a mother and her daughter who have long ago become friends.
We are not alone, for there are many who were making this climb ahead and behind us. We see mothers with their daughters, fathers and sons, entire families sleepily marching upwards, all with that same goal in mind - the white Cross which stands steadfast day after day above the city.
The sun gradually lights our way and we talk some more, she sharing with me some of her adventures of walking this way. Taking three small children and a jogging stroller up and up, pushing forward the littlest and encouraging the two eldest on with a 'Hup! two, three, four. Hup! two, three, four!' whenever they feel tired. Turning around at dusk to head home, the three in the stroller laughing hilariously as they make the swift downward journey.
We reach the Cross at last, and stand with our fellow travelers to read the sign that explains its presence. There were people who objected to it but at last, good people gathered their pennies and their dimes together until there were enough to purchase the Cross and allow it to stand. And so there it remains, a sort of steadfast presence of the faith of many in that fair City. Thank you.
We sat in a local cafe eating our delicious breakfast, savoring the good tastes and the camaraderie. It was all a gift - the walk, the people, the Cross, the breakfast. The people we met along the way were great, and all were friendly. But none was more friendly, more beautiful, or more kind than the lovely daughter who had invited me, and taken the time to stroll together on that delightful day.
See you along the Way!