I am generally disappointed a little when I reach my destination. The Rockies were much more spectacular in my imagination, before I actually stood in their midst. They are certainly breathtaking, spectacular, well worth the visit, but there is always something, something almost indefinable, missing in the reality.
I have pinpointed the missing element. It is mystery, the promise of the unexpected. When I get there, all is revealed and the mystery evaporates like the dream that it was. In Creatures of the Night, Dr. Gregory Reece investigates why we love horror, albeit in safe venues such as movies and carnivals, but is any venue really safe?
He refers back to the German theologian Rudolf Otto who connected awe with horror. "Out of 'shudder', a holy awe." And certainly, the closest I come to awakening the spectacular awe that colors my imagination is when I stand on a precipice and think irresistibly, "I wonder what it would be like to step off."
I have never been suicidal, but the thought always comes and I always step away from the abyss with the wonder of how persuasive it is.
|Pisgah Falls in Northeastern Alabama|