Monday, October 24, 2011

Laguna Verde, El Salvador

Sorry it's taken me a bit to return to our adventures in El Salvador photographs. I must say, the photos I'm sharing today are some of my favorite. Not necessarily because they are the best quality, but because the memories they hold are so special. This was one of the best days we had there, and I think it will be etched in my mind forever.

The beautiful cobblestone paved town at the bottom of the mountain was so charming and colorful. It was a lovely scene, and I was sad to see that cobblestone go as we began winding up the dirt road higher and higher on the mountainside. I started to wonder if the car was going to make it. More accurately, if we were going to make it. I could just see it... Danny and Lynley stranded on the mountainside in El Salvador with no choice but to find a little piece of tin and build ourselves a home... "Good thing Danny can build things," I thought!

The little rental car moaned and groaned as we climbed higher and higher in search of Laguna Verde, a crater lake in the mountains of Western El Salvador. We must have stopped and asked directions from a dozen villagers along the way. They all just pointed up... so up, up, and up we went, despite the car's resistance. Soon, we were literally driving through the clouds! It was so incredible! I wish a photo could do justice to the lush mountain scenery of that drive. The problem is, all you can see in a photograph is the thick greenery and clouds directly in front of you... you can't capture the jungle of vegetation and all the villages just beyond those trees, believe me I tried!

Finally we arrived at the beautiful green lagoon. Neither words not photographs adequately express the beauty of this place. There at the top of a mountain in El Salvador, inside the center of a volcano, we stood in the clouds and looked out on this lovely scene.  Breathtaking. A local villager was catching fish in a jar with his young son. A herd of cows were meandering up the hillside. We were standing in the middle of another world, unlike anything I'd ever seen before.

The clouds brushed over us and it began to rain. A good tropical rainstorm--warm and fierce. Our umbrella flipped inside out and was utterly useless. I remembered something my brother Rob had said prior to the trip, "Why are we always in such a hurry to run through the rain. It's just water! Why not get a little wet?" So we stood there in the rain, got very wet, and took in the beauty around us.

I kept saying, I hope these photos do this justice! They don't... but I don't think even the best camera could, and actually, I like it that way. While I'm always on a quest to capture moments through the lens, perhaps in some instances, you have to see things just as they are to truly appreciate their beauty. As we headed back down the mountainside, I was overcome with awe and appreciation for what we had just beheld. The thought came powerfully, "You see Lynley, the most beautiful things in life don't come easily, but they are worth every bit of work and sacrifice it takes to get there." It was a spiritual awakening, a reminder of hope however long and hard the road may be. Referencing one of my favorite talks by Elder Jeffery R. Holland, it was my moment on the cliffs of Dover. It was a manifestation of the beauty and blessings that come after tribulation.

I think I will always look back on that day with profound gratitude and appreciation for the Lord. He reserves unspeakable beauty and blessings for each of us as we travel life's difficult roads. Those blessings are well worth every bit of struggle and sacrifice.

With Love,


Stephanie said...

Yeah -- more El Salvador pics!

Amazing photographs! I love your description of trudging through all of the muck, up a steep mountain, through the clouds to find this magical hidden world. It sounds ideal, oh-so-lovely, and oh-so-worth the trip. :)

Whitney said...

I love your description of your journey, Lynley! So beautifully put! It reminds me of Elder Johnson's talk from the April General Conference, "To see the view, we must make the climb." Thank you so much for you inspiring words, my friend. I miss you!

Jeni C. said...

I always love the way you find such beautiful lessons in every day life! Thanks for sharing!