The Western Mountains Reflect the Morning Sun
Many years ago my family and I paid our first visit to the Palm Springs area. I remember how amazed I was driving from L.A. into the Coachella Valley. The desert floor of the valley was so vast, completely surrounded by mountains.
But these were not the kind of mountains I was used to growing up back east- green, covered with oaks, maples and evergreens. These mountains were towering mounds of rock reaching up high into the heavens.
I remember being strangely attracted to those mountains back those many years ago. Little did I know what a big part those mountains would play in my life over the years to come.
Our home in La Quinta (my retreat house) is literally surrounded by those towering stone mountains. My front yard looks onto the western mountains where the sun sets. In the backyard I see the sun rise over the eastern mountains.
Today as I sit and look to the west, basking in the glow of the rising sun's reflective rays, I think about how much the mountains teach me. I sit in silence and I can almost see them glow with divine life. I sit in silence and I can hear the mountains pulse with life. Imagine, inert mounds of giant rock- alive with Holy Presence.
As I look around me, I realize that everything that has "being" is holy - all "being" is infused with divine life.
All the people in the world going about their daily business are holy, the humming bird sipping nectar from the flowers on my patio is holy, the dragonfly buzzing around the pool is holy, the palm trees waving in the breeze are holy. And yes, the mountains are holy.
An Imam friend of mine once told me Muslims believe that anywhere you stand is a mosque; because everywhere you stand is a holy place. As I sit and look to the western mountains, I am in a holy place.
I am reminded of a beautiful and powerful poem once written by the priest/poet/philosopher/scientist, Teilhard de Chardin, and I sing a hymn to the mountains:
A Hymn to Matter
Blessed be you, universal matter, immeasurable time, boundless ether, triple abyss of stars and atoms and generations: You who by overflowing and dissolving our narrow standards and measurement reveal to us the dimensions of God.
I bless you, matter, and I acclaim you:not as the pontiffs of science or the moralizing preachers depict you, debased, disfigured - a mass of brute forces and base appetites - but as you reveal yourself to me today, in your totality and your true nature.
I acclaim you as the divine milieu, charged with creative power, as the ocean stirred by the spirit, as the clay molded and infused with life by the incarnate Word.