Frozen Hilltop

I grew up next to a magic hill. From the top of it I could see practically into the next state. or so it felt. I don’t know what kind of magic it had, or why it had it; maybe an angel landed on it at some point, I don’t know, but I felt it: on one of the last weekend days of summer before school was set to start. It was an awful hot summer that year, and that day was no exception, bringing heat enough for two days. It was the kind of heat that kept the sane inside where they could blast the air conditioning. Even the animals had the good sense to hide, in the shelter of the trees or their burrows; anywhere but outside in the sun.

But there is no force on Earth great enough to stop a child from enjoying his last days of freedom, not even the Sun. So I climbed up the hill, the Sun beating down, sweat soaking through my clothes, lungs burning with every breath. At the top of the hill I was doubled over trying to catch my breath for so long, that I feared I might never get it back. But eventually I was able to stand up to take in the view of all the trees, and fields, and houses stretched out around me.

And then it all froze.

The clouds overhead were like a picture of the sky rather than the real thing or it was as though, like a school project, they were cotton balls glued to a sheet of blue construction paper. None of the insects or birds were chirping, the world was as silent as a candle that had just gone out. It was all on display for me, and me alone. I held my breath, and hardly dared to move. I wanted that moment to last forever. I didn’t want summer to end. I didn’t want to go back to school. I just wanted to sit on that hill, with the Sun shining down on me.

I felt, in a way that I have not felt since, like I was attuned to God’s wavelength–at peace

But then a bead of sweat dropped from my forehead, splashing onto my shoe. And then the breeze blew by my feet, rustling the grass. And suddenly everything was back: the air moved once more through my lungs, the birds were singing again, the clouds were back to their slow dance across the sky.

Nothing in my life has ever been as special as that moment. I don’t know if I’ll ever experience such a thing again, but I try to go back to that hill every year, hoping that maybe this time it will last forever, and I can sit and wait for God’s judgement in peace.

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