I’m still laughing.
A night or two into our pilgrimage, it was getting on to bed time. A number of us were relaxing in the lobby of our hotel in Kelso, Scotland when two of our group members burst in with the most amazing news.
They were SURE they had seen Northern Lights. They wondered if I had seen them before and what color they had been and went on to describe the somewhat clear color they had seen in the heavens and the slash of darkness that split the light. They were amazed and excited and being prone to taking any opportunity to share such things I asked if they would show me the signs in the heaven they had seen. A group of us piled out of the hotel in great haste lest this wonder disappear.
They led us through the night to the ruins of an abbey nearby. The crumble of the walls was stark in the night. Softening the stark was a garden with a very tall cross pointing toward the sky. In order to see that cross at all hours of the night, there were spot lights that lit it, shining the message of resurrection for all to see.
As we approached the site of the sighting the women were so excited to share that it was in a specific spot that the wonder could be best viewed. We put ourselves in the appointed place and yes, it was clear that there was a light shining with the afore-mentioned dark stripe separating the two pools of light.
I stopped and I looked and I was instantly torn because what I could see was a shine in the heavens, to be sure, but a shine that was like no Northern Lights I had ever seen and yes, that light truly did bear a stripe of darkness and so clear to me was that the mysterious stripe looked suspiciously like it corresponded to the light those two spotlights were unable to shine through the tall cross.
I tentatively suggested that the Northern Lights were in fact the light thrown by the spot lights and the stripe that of the cross and my rational explanation was pooh-poohed in no uncertain terms until one of the sages in our midst suggested a way to solve the mystery.
She suggested that we position ourselves in the magical viewing spot and she would cover the spotlight with her jacket and then we would know.
So position ourselves we did, and cover the light she and a compatriot did.
And the Northern Lights by golly disappeared! Poof, just like that they were gone!
We laughed so hard the neighbors were poking their heads around curtains.
So there we were. Pilgrims on pilgrimage hungry to see signs in the heavens and the shimmer of the holy in our hearts and sometimes just sometimes wonder is shared and some old grinch (in this case the grinch bore my name) has to go and make things all rational.
A wonder of wonders became the holy communion of laughter and as for me, Northern Lights have never been so fine.