By Sarah Schrock
It was brought to my attention last week that the cross on Mill Hill needed some TLC. Broken or burned out, missing lights on the upper half and left appendage gave the image of some kind of garbled Greek pi symbol (π). The holy symbol that sits atop town always stirs up commentary, a little controversy, and, at minimum, good conversation.
With the failing lights and Easter coinciding, I started to ask around to get a sense of people’s sentiments. Brynne Edwards commented, “my neighbor who has lived here for a long time, says when there’s nothing much going on in town, people start talking about the cross again.” Well I guess there’s not much else going on …
When we first moved to town, my 8-year-old nephew visiting from the big city saw the cross through our living room window and in sincere exaltation cried, “Look! A cross.” In the eyes of a parochial schooled boy, he thought it was genuinely awesome to see the icon of peace in the sky. It made me realize how powerful this symbol can be on the unassuming eye.
For many, they prefer to call it the Twisp “T.” In fact, years ago some renegades went as far as to cover the upper lights with hand-knit covers in an attempt assert a secular view. But the Keepers of the Cross prevailed, removed the booties that blocked the upper beams, and the cross stood proud.
It goes without saying that for many, it’s a sacred symbol, a comforting reminder of Christ’s love and resurrection. For others, it’s a scar in the night sky. However, for many it comes with mixed meanings and indifference. Here are some of the comments regarding the cross:
“It reminds me of being in a small Mexican town. Every town in Mexico has a cross on the side of the hill. They don’t all light up, but it’s a normal part of rural landscape.” This comment was followed by another’s input, “in fact, a lot of living in Twisp reminds me of being in Mexico … the cross, the crumbling infrastructure, notably the potholes on my street, the dry hills, and the four open restaurants.”
“I don’t particularly mind the cross, it’s a little bright sometimes, but even as a non-Christian I sort of like that people take care of it and feel compelled to keep it lit up.”
“I think it sets us apart. It makes Twisp unique in that we have a huge cross on the hill. It’s like we are the town with the cross on the hill.”
“It’s a beacon of light, looking down on all of us.”
Talk about the cross brought up other sentiments regarding too many streetlights in town, too many signs along the highway, and night sky protections. Twisp actually does have a sign ordinance to control size and lighting on signs, and light pollution is somewhat controlled through the zoning ordinance. I don’t think Twisp is visible from space yet, but let’s hope we don’t get there soon.
As Easter Sunday came to a close, we glanced out our window and lo and behold! The cross was fully lit and back to its full glory. The Keepers of the Cross have prevailed again and brought our beacon back so regardless of faith, we can find our way home.