Paradise and Perseids

Sunday. Everyone wants to be in Paradise. Who wouldn’t? And it’s especially true of nearly all visitors who approach Mount Rainier (Tahoma) from this side–in droves they drive or shuttle up to the area named Paradise, on the southern flank of the Mount, and its Visitor Center. Michael and Amy came from Gosh campground in the a.m. to spend the day in Paradise with us. Stunning area, though on a Summer Saturday the press of crowds, the difficult parking and need for shuttle busses might make even a Universalist reconsider a theology that admits so many to Paradise. (I kid). Still, just to be there filled your senses. At day’s end the mountain shrugs off its scurrying tourists like so many annoying ants. I could almost sense Tahoma sighing, asking to be alone. Later, after a ranger program in camp, we dared to return to watch the Perseid meteor shower from Paradise. Tahoma was mute, tolerant, illumined by starlight and snow. A ranger discussed the M92 globular cluster which we could view through his telescope, a pinpoint neighborhood of a mere 500,000 stars. Laying on our backs on a bench, we stared upwards for a half-hour into God’s heaven, occasionally streaked by a meteor, crowded with stars. The number of spiritual descendants of Abraham, the eternal population of Paradise, was promised to be as many as these. Put us on that shuttle, that’s our kind of crowd.

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