There is just so much to say. It's been about three months, with my last entry being about my whimsical time in Paris visiting a couple of great friends.
So much has happened in these last three months... it feels like it's been a dream. This is precisely the reason why I carry my Moleskine journal just about everywhere. I never know when a moment that I wish I could freeze forever will happen, and writing it all down right away proves to be an effective way to help me later transport my mind right back to everything that moment had to offer-- the smells, the sounds, the textures-- those things that a photo simply cannot do justice.
Since I was so terrible at keeping up with my online journal during this time, I thought that instead of trying to quickly re-cap everything, instead I would bring you into a couple of our greatest memories over these last few months.These memories have not been categorized as just some of our favorite of the summer, but some of our favorites in life.
On the twentieth of July, Christian and I jumped in the back of our friend's minivan and headed out with him and his wife to Hallstatt-- a beautiful, storybook town in the middle of the Austrian Alps. The town is not built wide, but rather up since it is situated on the side of a mountain alongside a large lake, and only nine-hundred or so people call it "home." As it would happen, a family from the church in Baden own one of these homes which has been in their family for two-hundred of the four-hundred years of its existence. Here is my journal entry of this memory:
The drive to Hallstatt was beautiful. The sun covered the farmed Styrian valleys, and the mountains surrounded the land like great stone protectors. Hallstatt itself is even more beautiful than I could have imagined. Sitting on the very edge of a large lake, Hallstatt, we learned, dates back as a permanent settlement all the way to 2500 B.C., but they have found things even older here.
Chris met us in the parking lot and walked us up to their family home in the town center. He was accompanied by his youngest son, Jonathan.
The roads are narrow and the residences climb upwards on the side of the mountain. We walked up many old stone steps before we reached the house. We noticed the wood, the two-hundred-year-old ceramic tiles, the extra-low ceilings complimenting the extra-wide doors. There are small knick-knacks everywhere from Chris' family including a traditional three-hundred-year-old shepherd's coat hanging in the entry. As it happens, Chris' grandfather was a local potter and painter for twenty-five years, so the home is filled with his handmade mugs, plates, bowls....
After getting some groceries at the market, we went on a short evening walk in the rain. (I don't think I have ever regretted walking in the rain.) The clouds had settled around the mountains giving the town a dark, romantic look and feel which made me think of that type of literature-- the kind that the Brontë sisters would write.
I also observed the lone, white castle across the lake. It sits by itself, ruins of a time when it once saw what I imagine to be a great companionship. A beautiful place, now empty-- forgotten looking. I noticed the clouds rolling over the mountains like waves in slow motion, ebbing and flowing between the great stone crevasses and over the bold peaks. I like that mountains are like nature's steeples, pointing upward toward the heavens. I wish to be more like the mountains-- at the mercy of my Creator by steadfast, strong, confidently unique in my way of pointing the otherwise wandering eye heavenward.
This morning, Christian and I woke up early to watch the sunrise. We read Psalm 90, made some espresso, which we poured into two of those clay mugs, and walked down to the lake. There is a small island off the shore that is attached by a bridge. The island has a couple of narrow wooden benches which we sat on while we watched the town. It was so quiet and still-- the sun had not yet shone its face over the peaks.
Around 08:45, our hosts, Chris and Katie, their two sons (Simon and Jonathan) and the four of us visitors went up the mountain (where their house is built) to a lookout. After walking around up there, seeing the old Celtic ruins and taking it all in, Chris, Katie, their sons and Christian and I decided to continue on a roundabout hike which continued upward and around the backside of the mountain. The views were unreal.
We walked behind a huge rock face with five waterfalls, through a glacier pass and then through these mountain meadows filled with the such colorful wildflowers. We filled our water bottles in mountain streams, played alphabet games, and climbed around in the clearest, aquamarine pools.The most excellent way to finish up our Hallstatt experience.
I am so glad that I get to share this memory with you guys, and I hope it succeeded in transporting you into this small but profound piece of the world for the minutes it took to read this.
Up next: our crazy hike up to Schiestlhaus!