While we were at my family reunion a while back, we decided to take a hike…..
….. up the nearest volcano.
So we loaded all the kids in the car and drove up a gorgeous mountain road with luscious evergreen forests.
But when we got near the top, I immediately noticed how hot, dry and barren it was.
I also noticed that I’m not used to hikes that are hot, dry and barren.
And I also noticed…..
A large group of people holding hands in a circle and dancing freestyle to drums (while still holding hands).
Hmm, I thought, I wonder what this is all about…..
Since they were hard to miss, the rest of my family noticed them, too.
“Oh, wow,” my Mom said, “That looks like a ceremony.”
A ‘ceremony”? I thought, What’s a ‘ceremony’?
“I heard they happen up here a lot because this is a sacred volcano,” my Mom explained as we walked by the ceremonious group, “But I’ve never seen one before.”
I couldn’t resist pulling out my camera and taking a picture of the ‘ceremony’, but then felt guilty.
Am I allowed to take pictures? I wondered, Or is it sacrilegious?
“I think it’s a ceremony for peace,” my Mother continued, “And it costs a lot to be part of it.”
Oh, they have to pay to be in the ceremony…..?
I’d never heard of paying to be part of a public peace ceremony, so I hoped that meant it was okay to take pictures and nobody would be offended.
Then we headed up the volcano to the sound of drums and chanting.
And it wasn’t long before I started noticing…..
….. little rock formations.
Of course, I took a picture.
And then felt guilty.
And wondered what the little piles of rocks meant.
So I looked back at the ‘ceremony’…..
….. and realized what a pretty picture they made.
A harmonious circle below a sea of blues.
So I took another picture.
Then I tried to ignore them and repent of my sacrilegious ways.
And took a picture of my beautiful sister, Mel, helping one of her dear boys.
And that’s when I realized I was shirking my duty as the family photographer and taking more pictures of rock piles and ceremonies than I was of my own family.
So I made them pose for me.
What a good-lookin’ group!
(From left to right: my sisters, Mel & Elise, my Mom, my brother, Brett, and his little man).
After that, we came upon a large level spot…..
….. with rock circles!
And I furtively glanced around before taking a quick picture.
Then tried to pretend I didn’t by holding an impromptu photo shoot.
Of Mel’s wonderful family, demonstrating full support of BYU’s first football game of the season. (Go, Cougars!)
And Brett’s fantastic family (though somehow I missed taking their picture and borrowed this one from their camera).
And my stupendous family who loved me in spite of my stylin’ crew socks.
Then I herded everyone together for a big group shot.
And I was just about to call it quits when Brett’s sweet wife offered to take one with me in it.
So I hopped in and Charming tried to lick Brett’s ear.
Then we called it quits and everyone dispersed.
And then I felt a hankering to check out the ‘ceremony’ again.
….. these two cuties were still hangin’ around, and I didn’t want them to see me spying on the source of our background drums.
So, as soon as they left, I peeked down…..
….. and once again fell in love with a picturesque scene.
Then Charming came up and said, “Bubbers isn’t doing very well.”
“He isn’t?” I said with concern.
Then I thought back to our photo shoot…..
….. and his sad, pained facial expressions.
“You’re right,” I agreed, “Maybe we should go back.”
“Okay,” Charming said.
And he headed down the volcano as Brett and the others continued on.
We enjoyed the beautiful view as we descended and found our car.
And right before we got in, I took one last look…..
And felt guilty again.