As we lift up our eyes to the hills, day after day, scrambling and climbing, striding and pausing, pray with us that God would reveal grace to us, refresh with Presence our weary souls. So often God called people to the mountains for encounters with his Glory. The solid awe-inspiring strength, the unknowable heights, the dangerous beauty, the abundant waters, the lonely pristine clarity, the otherworldliness of the landscape all make the mountains a place to experience God more concretely. You can look from afar and admire, but to really get into the high zones take time and breath and purpose.
Another phrase that's been in my head as we hike is the Mighty Fortress hymn, since we're in German-speaking country and the words for fortress (burg) and mountain (berg) echo each other. If you live around the Alps, particularly in the Middle Ages, in times of cantons and small kings and attacks, a good high rock and fortress makes for a place of safety. Also if you're going to survive in this environment, you can see how the Swiss characteristics might be the ones that would emerge: careful attention to detail, rules, surety, conformity, beauty. The paths are well marked. There is no trash. The homes all have flowers. The industry seems small scale. You can look at these mountains and feel that the people who managed to live in their shadows did so by drawing some hard lines and staying inside. Which perhaps explains a lot of our reformation inheritance of theology too. Dangerous mountains, keep to the path. Explain, set the parameters, make sense.