Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and we took the one less travelled.
There is something about the mountains that has always called to me in a way I can’t explain. Perhaps it has something to do with growing up in a very flat part of Georgia and then in a pretty big city. The pure, raw, untouched beauty will never cease to amaze me. Fortunately in this choir there are several people who will consent to drowning their shoes in snow while simultaneously sweating through our shirts. So it was with a party of eight that we left our hotel in search of adventure.
A short bus ride later we found ourselves at the foot of Untersberg Mountain, gazing up at a snow-capped rock face. At this point I was breathless, not only from beauty but because to get to the top you have to ride a cable car to a point near the top. And guess who happens to be terrified of being suspended in the air hundreds of feet off the ground? It was quite a feat for me to get on the cable car and keep my breakfast down but I have some pretty incredible friends who rubbed my back, held my hands, and didn’t judge me for sitting on the floor of the car the whole time. Ten minutes later I couldn’t even think about being scared because of what I was looking at. We began the trek to the peak of the mountain through snow that was three feet deep in places, up and down rocky slopes and traversed by wooden ladders. At the top of the mountain there is a wooden cross that can be seen just barely from the Salzburg Fortress miles and miles away. There are few things in life that can truly take my breath away and I wouldn’t even hesitate to say that was one of them. From one side of the mountain you can see Salzburg sprawling out through the hills. On the other are the rest of the seemingly endless Alps, still covered in snow at the end of May.
We let the beauty overwhelm us for a while (even though we really should have left 30 minutes before we did to make a 14:00 call time!) and then started making our way back down. Before we left the peak David stopped us all and pleaded to let us sing one song atop this beautiful mountain. Henry pulled the F# off of his phone and Hannah and I began Marriage to My Lady Poverty. Chills raced up and down my arms and as we reached the line “We need no more than birds, they sing and wander wherever they please” two small black birds soared overhead and circled us and the cross we stood around.
As amazing as I’m sure everyone’s day was in Salzburg, I can say with full confidence that few things in my life will compare to that morning and hearing Bob Chilcott on the wind on top of that mountain.