I watched it from the mountaintop: the creeping whiteness that devoured the landscape below me. I had climbed up, camera in hand, to capture the view but instead what I saw was nothingness. It was not fog, it was simply white. I should have been frightened, I suppose, but instead I watched with dread fascination as it ate away at the landscape, slowly approaching the mountain where I stood. Just as it was climbing up the slope, I saw far away, a glimmer of something. It was a single spot of color in the vast field of white, but it was enough to give me hope. So I saw down on the bench to watch and see what would happen.
I had toiled many days through the snowy mountains until my strength and spirit were almost gone. I was about to despair when I came to an area where stone lanterns sat, capped in snow. Nothing was moving, save a few small birds, which filled the air with their chirping. I tried to move on, but they fluttered around me, always blocking my way.
Taken in Odaesan National Park, Korea
I finally held out my hand and one of the birds came and perched on it. It may have been my fatigued state, but it seemed to me that the bird spoke to me. “There is hope,” it said. “You have wandered many days and do not know, but today is Christmas. It is a day when all people can find hope, for it was the day that the great Hope came into the world.”
With that, it flew away and although it would not come back to my hand again, I followed the birds to a hidden path and found myself at last in the land of life and hope.