Today is Easter Sunday for those of us who follow the Christian faith. Today Christians all around the world will celebrate the resurrection and the life of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. For Christians this is the holiest day of the year.
I have many fond memories of Easter Sunday. My maternal grandmother was a Southern Baptist and she attended services at Virginia Heights Baptist Church regularly. She knew her Bible and when the moment called for it she’d repeat a verse to me during the many days and nights we spent together. I can still remember coming through her front door and seeing her in a large chair with her Bible spread open on her lap. I stayed with her a lot when I was a kid and we always said our prayers together at bed time. Every Easter, as I recall, she would attend a sunrise service at the Cape Henry Memorial Cross at Fort Story. It was at this site on April 26, 1607, that sea wary and thankful colonists first came ashore to explore a piece of this new world. They named the cape, and set up a cross before heading up the James River to found Jamestown.
Easter marks the true beginning of spring and nowhere, it seemed when I was a kid, was that more apparent than on Easter Sunday at church. The ladies with their bright dresses and corsages and hats. The church with flowers all over and their sweet smell in the air. And the Sunday school lesson and the message from the pulpit rang with the words of life and new beginnings and forgiveness.
Finished reading Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster, by Jon Krakauer. A very interesting, but hauntingly true story. Krakauer is journalist (and mountaineer) who accompanies a group on a climb to the summit of Mount Everest—a very challenging and dangerous assent into very cold and very thin air. Originally Krakauer was on the trip to write about the commercialization of Mount Everest, but Krakauer ended up being part of a major disaster. Five of sixteen of his fellow climbers—3 of them guides—perished on the upper mountain during their May 10, 1996, assent. Wikipedia has a fairly good summary of what happened. There’s also the made for TV movie available on YouTube, made not long after the event, and there’s a fairly good documentary on Youtube worth watching if you’re interested.
I think this quote of Krakauer’s probably best captures the theme of this human tragedy:
Unfortunately, the sort of individual who is programmed to ignore personal distress and keep pushing for the top is frequently programmed to disregard signs of grave and imminent danger as well. This forms the nub of a dilemma that every Everest climber eventually comes up against: in order to succeed you must be exceedingly driven, but if you’re too driven you’re likely to die. Above 26,000 feet, moreover, the line between appropriate zeal and reckless summit fever becomes grievously thin. Thus the slopes of Everest are littered with corpses.*
* Of the 300 people who’ve died while climbing on the slopes of Mount Everest over the decades, about 150 of those bodies still remain on the mountain to this day. As Krakauer says, being up that high is like being on the surface of the moon. If something goes wrong, you’re largely on your own. It’s too high for a helicopter rescue and bringing a seriously injured climber or dead body down the upper reaches of the mountain is a perilous task. Thus many frozen corpses remain on the upper slopes.
Like much of the world, it seems, I enjoy social media and I’m sure—to some degree—I will continue too. My typical morning involves making the coffee and then sitting down and opening a social media app or two and sipping coffee while I take in some of what my social media friends have posted and said. But admittedly there are times I’ve thought about deleting some, if not all, of my social media accounts. Sure, on the positive side there’s that perceived sense of connection you feel with people you know, have known and haven’t seen in years, and the sharing of all those great memories, personal news, and the good-natured banter that goes on. I enjoy all these things. But of course every rose has its thorn…bush. Which means there are times while scrolling through, say, Facebook or Twitter, I start to think maybe it would’ve been better if Noah had missed the boat.