The Ten Most Beautiful Sights in the World
By Foy Valentine
"Whatsoever things are...lovely...think on these things" Philippians 4:8
Fixed indelibly in our mind's eyes are certain splendid sights. It pleasures us to lean back, shut our eyes, and remember them in living color. Those sights accumulated across a lifetime can be better than money in the bank. By far.
So, would you pull up a chair and humor me a couple of minutes.
I am remembering the ten most beautiful sights I have ever seen. Hold it just a minute while I get this tired old projector focused. Now.
There is the black sand beach of Kalapana. On Hawaii's Big Island before Kilauea blew its top pouring vast quantities of molten lava on it, this was the prettiest place in the world. The exquisite crescent beach was lined with coconut palms; and the bay's great waves ceaselessly pounded and agitated the old black lava to make the fantastic, glistening jet black sand. The perfectly white foam, the navy blue water, the huge turtles wallowing in the surf, and the blue blue sky combined to create what Pele could cover up but what the volcano goddess could never dim from memory.
I remember Tahiti in the dawn's early light. One of the most breathtakingly beautiful sights on earth with turquoise water, coral sand, Moorea in the distance, frond-thatched Polynesian shacks in the foreground, and the magic combination of light and color that enraptured and captured French Impressionist artists, English writers, and everybody with a pulse who has ever come near.
Unforgettable are Northern New Mexico's aspen-covered mountains in October's full color, vast garments of 24-karat gold. There is simply nothing in this world more gloriously marvelous. No bluer skies on earth, no vaster expanses of delicious solid gold forests, no grander vistas are to be found anywhere in the world that I know of.
Then there is Lake Louise. With the glacier feeding it, the Canadian Rocky mountains surrounding it, and the season's first magic snowfall gracing it, Lake Louise lives splendidly in memory. The Banff National Park is Canada's finest treasure; and Lake Louise is the Crown Jewel. Sell all you have and go see it before God calls you home. Heaven probably has more splendid sights; but from here, I cannot for the life of me imagine what they could be like.
Consider bluebonnets in the Texas hill country. Specifically, just a few miles north of Fredericksburg on a peaceful little black-topped ranch road, a body drives slowly around a bend and over a hill to see an astoundingly beautiful great blue lake in the distant valley and stops to drink it in only then to see that this is not a lake at all. It is an unbelievable expanse of exquisite bluebonnets. Defying description, here is God's special gift not just to Texas and to Texans but to anybody and everybody with eyes to see. This is a first magnitude, world class memory to take with you to that Fair Land Beyond the River.
Think a moment of the Muir Woods. California's best gift to the world is this patch of giant redwoods towering to fantastic heights, graced by a little stream brimming with great old ocean weary salmon coming home to spawn, streaked by light shining through the giant trees as in the hush of a great cathedral. This is one of the most fabulous places in all of God's great creation.
Nothing could ever erase, or even fade in the mind's eye, Ireland's forty shades of green. Defying description, these undulating green hills are somehow deeply therapeutic. Embellished with fencerows of profusely blooming fuscia, blackberries ripening in wild exuberance, and a technologically challenged landscape that has hardly changed since St. Patrick first laid eyes on it, Ireland's forty shades of green is a sight that blesses the beholder with wondrously curative special powers.
Fabulous is the word for Teheran in the desert night. With a full moon coming up over the Elburz mountains, with every light in this great city twinkling in the desert air as if to outtwinkle all the others, and with the 18,600 foot peak of Mount Demavent looming distantly in the northeast, the wonder of 1001 Arabian nights engulfs you. Even the angels hush their singing.
The Taj Mahal. No human construction compares in beauty to this exquisite monument. Built in Agra, India by the Shah Jahan for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is unique in conception, design, execution, and impact. I have seen it in the early morning, at high noon, in the late afternoon, and by moonlight. And I would like to see its white marble, its four graceful minarets, its fabled reflection pool, and its exquisite garden surrounded by the red sandstone wall-all-again and again and again.
Queen of the Alps and Mother Superior of all the mountains in all the world, the Jungfrau stands splendidly in a class all by itself. The Jungfrau's symmetry, understated grandeur, class, and framing of Interlaken's bright blooms and fine green lawns, combine to showcase the best that the Swiss Alps have to offer in glaciers, ice, pristine snow, and dazzling whiteness.
I also remember Kilimanjaro in the moonlight, the Matterhorn in the morning, rhododendrons covering North Carolina's Mount Mitchell, the sunsets from my boyhood home, of course, and a hundred more. But I have to cease and desist lest, to quote Macbeth, "the line stretch out to the crack of doom."
Why not make your own list? Then when you need a break, flash them on the screen of your mind.
It could be a very religious thing to do.
Epiphanies are for those with eyes to see.
"Whatsoever things are...lovely...think on these things"