When mountains are around me, I feel at home. I feel my best because I grew up in the French alps in a small village, and both my mom and dad have ancestors from this region.
We never had a TV at home, or even an inside shower or bathroom. We had one stove burning wood, and the bedrooms upstairs were cold. Even so, at night my mom would open my window a crack for fresh air. She said it was healthy.
The toilet was outside next to the home. So, in winter you could easily freeze your butt in there. The telephone came later. To call my grandma I had to go through an operator. I remember my phone number; it was number 31 in la Chambre and my grandma’s phone number was number 1 in Cuines. She probably was the first one to get a telephone then, as her number was one.
Even though while growing up I was not introduced to God, being in nature was the creation God made, and this immense beauty, calm, and serenity impressed me. All the views were breathtaking. In the summer sometimes I would go with my mom and neighbors to bring the cows high up on top of the mountain. Of course, we went on foot and it would take the whole day to arrive there. At 2000 or 3000 meters, you hear only the sounds of nature.
Even though I did not know about God, looking back I felt His presence in this immensity. Away from people, the sins of the world, away from anything human, I could hear something else there in my mountains. Being on top of the peak, you see the other side of the mountains; you are closest to the sky, and then to Heaven.
After we married, Dietrich and I and our children paid many visits to my hometown. One summer I recall, I really wanted to go back there on top of the mountains through a difficult and hazardous path, but I wanted to, even though I had physical limitations for walking such a path. Of course, my family always went with my brother leaving at 3.00 or 4.00 am before the sunrise, and picked Edelweiss and Génépi, a mountain plant, to make liquor and ease the digestion.
So, Dietrich and I went one morning. This trip represented the course and road of our lives. After just one hour, I was already exhausted. I needed vitamins, drink, snacks, and the like, and needed to rest. After some rest I could hardly climb, so Dietrich pushed me from behind; that was helpful. Then he pulled me by holding a stick; that was helpful too. At the end, he took me on his back. But we did arrive there. We arrived at our goal, at our destination. It was a very joyful moment.
This summer, going back to my hometown, I took the cable car to go to the top of my mountains. I just wanted to see all the valleys where my ancestors came from, and pray there by myself but together with our Heavenly Father. With only the sounds of nature, there was God.
Your friend, Elisabeth Seidel