No, that is not a typo. I was, in fact, rather slow, being a Snake Pass virgin and all.
Last night I motorbikled over Snake Pass for the first time. I’ve wanted to do it for ages but haven’t felt up to it being a new rider and all. But last night, I thought I needed to go for a long run as it’s been a week since I was enjoying the delights of Delilah, I wanted to check out wearing my new jacket with a back brace built in (it certainly helps with one’s deportment), and I wanted to break out of a fug I was in, so was definitely wanting something to take me out of myself for a while.
Riding out onto the unlit ribbon of velvet weaving its way through the hills I felt as safe as a tight-rope walker who’s practise wire is a foot off the floor as the summer night cloaked the heady-drops from view as I approached each new corner with the utmost concentration and glee.
Without thinking, I rode towards LadyBower, pulling into the bordering road where I u-turned and stopped. The view took my breath away; the hills were silhouetted against a star-lit sky with the sort of depth that reminds you we are residing in just one tiny galaxy amongst millions. I could see the Milky Way with complete clarity, planes were coming in to land at Manchester and the lake shone like a piece of black glass, utterly tranquil under the starlight.
I don’t mind telling you that I parked my bike, took off my helmet and gloves and lay in the grass gazing up at the heavens as the silence closed in around me like a silk duvet. Aah!
And as the space in my head expanded, while I looked into the limitless night sky, I heard the voice of silence, the sound of the One. The moment it happened I knew why I’d had to come out here, and experience this; why I was feeling so hemmed in. Over the past ten days I’ve been in two situations where my faith has been most intensely called into question, once by persons whom (I imagine) view it as some form of strategic psychological aspect of human survival/thinking, and once by someone who was rather taken aback when I explained that in spite of my absolute faith in Jesus as our Christ, I also understand that Jesus reveals Himself to people in different cultures and times and places as is acceptable to those image-ing Him. I mean seriously, think about Jesus for a split second and what do you see? Not a short Jewish guy then?
I realised that the ‘sound of silence’ such as Elijah heard when he came out of his cave to seek God strips away all of the words that we use to describe The Word, and that the Living Word, Christ, cannot be contained by any word(s) or even by a Name. I remember spending years wondering what the ‘Name above All Names’ really meant, as I couldn’t accept the hierarchical understanding of it, but it seems to me that it is a name that transcends, runs through and annihilates in it’s all-encompassing Here-ness any other name, description, title or dogma that we might dare to confine it to. And there suddenly, I grasped that was what caused my sense of confinement; being asked to reduce my knowledge – or experience – of God to mere words, frail brittle things in varying configurations of just 26 letters which with to describe the One in Whose Universe I lay, soaking up starlight and silence like a woman at a well.