I have heard family stories of long ago neighbors who sold their belongings and traipsed to the very top of a mountain that a religious leader said would be the site of the rapture on a specific date in the 1950s. I think of them, packing just enough for a day or two among the trees. Did they sell the car and walk up that mountain? Who bought the house? Did they donate their clothes and kitchen accessories and knickknacks and books?

And how long did they wait, up there on that mountain, watching clouds pass over the beautiful Virginia scenery? When did they know the preacher had been wrong? When did they come down from that mountain, or are they still there? Do they blame the man who said to leave their earthly possessions in preparation for the eternal glory of heaven? Did they go back to their lives -- to the schools they had left and the jobs they had quit? And what happened to that belief, so strong that they willingly gave up everything to be on that mountaintop, awaiting the lord?

Is there anything I will ever be so sure of, that I will wake when daylight breaks, and walk slowly up a wooded path, headed for the sky?

 

SARAH BIGHAM teaches, writes, and paints in Maryland where she lives with her kind chemist wife, their three independent cats, and an unwieldy herb garden. A Pushcart nominee, her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in Bacopa, Dulcet Quarterly, Dying Dahlia Review, Pulse: Voices from the Heart of Medicine, Touch, Whirlwind, and other great places for readers and writers. Find her at www.sgbigham.com.