Under the Volcano
I've been told by many people over the years that I think too much, and I certainly think that I'm thinking too much to profit as much as I mind from my current course of Spanish language study....
...but sometimes (I really do think that!) thinking really can move mountains.
Probably because I grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, amid a large extended family that made me feel quite safe, I have always found it comforting to be in the mountains. Being there gives me a sense of steadiness, of groundedness (even when the mountain in question is an unstable one, like the volcanos in Iceland or here in Guatemala. And I did learn, years ago, that the Biblical phrase, “I look up to the hills, from which cometh my help” might well/probably is better punctuated as, “I look up to the hills. From whence cometh my help? It cometh from the Lord….” (not, in other words, either from the mountains or from the spirits that inhabit them, but rather from the God who is beyond them all).
In this context, I greatly amused, last night, to come across Augusto Monterrose’s “Faith and Mountains,” in The Black Sheep and Other Fables (1969):
But when Faith started spreading and people began to be amused by the idea of moving mountains, these did nothing but change place, and it became more and more difficult to find them in the spot where they had been left the night before, which of course created more difficulties than it resolved.
From this point on, decent people chose to abandon Faith, and now for the most part mountains stay put.
Whenever there is a landslide on the roads and a number of passengers die beneath the rocks, this means that someone, nearby or faraway, has had a glimmer of Faith.