Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

Stations of the Cross
Russ & Rex on the hike

This morning, we cancelled spin class at Gold's and participated in the annual Mt. Tapochau hike with Rex & Clarie. Linda and Angie joined us shortly thereafter as well.  At the base of the hill, we started our trek on a clear, sunny morning with few flowy clouds. There were hundreds of Catholics and Christians ascending and descending the mountain wearing anything from flip flops to heels to bare feet. Some wake up way before dawn (3-4am) and hike up to the top before the sun rises. We didn't embark until 6am so there was ample light. The road was also just graded so the deep crevices were flattened, making it more manageable to walk.

Lady in Red
Each year, a few thousand men, women and children hike to the top and for many, it's their only form of exercise for the year. We reached the top relatively quickly as our conversation help dismiss the amount of time it actually took. A crowd had gathered at the foot of the stairs surrounding the over-sized wooden cross where Father Nonoy was reading scripture aloud on a microphone. I noticed the "barefoot lady" in the bright scarlet dress with the gold rope sash and bare feet. She stood next to the stairs just adjacent to the "May Peace Prevail on Earth" post. I've never seen her on island at the usual supermarkets, restaurants or beach. It's only on this Good Friday hike that our paths cross on Mt. Tapochau. I am curious to know who she is and what she does the rest of the 364 days.

Usually, a long queue forms to climb the stairs to the Jesus statue, but with Father Nonoy's service below, we quickly walked up to see Jesus' image staring west with his arms lifted. I see this as a pose that symbolizes his anguish, asking God the Father to forgive us. Our first golden retriever, Shelby, immediately barked at this Jesus statue when we took her up here. She must have felt that he was alive.

Our house overlooking Lau Lau Bay
 Atop Mt. Tapochau to the south east, you can clearly see our two-story house in front of Lau Lau Bay. From this viewpoint, we really do look like we live in a dense, remote jungle, surrounded by little else but trees.

Mt. Tapochau has had a minor facelift in that they erected the railings, which will eventually rust and become more hazardous.  I preferred the openness of the apex, without any guardrails. 

Linda and Angie
Happy Easter!
We really couldn't have asked for a better day to see a 360 view of the island and beyond. We seemed to time our ascent perfectly in order to witness the manual lifting of the heavy cross. About 30 men from various parishes physically carried the cross from the base of the hill, tied the long ropes and erected it to replace last year's pole. It took several attempts to get the 20 foot high cross upright. In the last photo below, one man climbed up the wooden pole to untie all the ropes. I wonder if he volunteered to climb or was he assigned the risky task? In any case, he did a good job.

On Good Friday, many people tend to be much more accommodating and kind which is what Jesus preached. I hope that love and compassion for others progresses onto tomorrow, Sunday and the weeks and months ahead.

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