To Shut Out the Immensity



He loved mountains,
or he had loved the thought of them marching
on the edge of stories brought from far away;
but now he was borne down by the insupportable weight of Middle-earth.
He longed to shut out the immensity in a quiet room by a fire.
~J.R.R Tolkien from Lord of the Rings 




I am so high in the windy sun,
On the rock-boned back of the highest thing,
That the mountains under me, every one,
Are but wrinkled gestures …. westering.
~Thomas Hornsby Ferril from “One Mountain Hour”





Surrounded as we are in the northwest by so much raw and rugged beauty, I’m easily overwhelmed.  My breath catches when I turn my face to these monoliths of stone and ice.

There is no sound up there except my heartbeat.  No birds.  Even breezes are silent with no trees or leaves to rustle.  Twenty foot walls of snow.

I am content to gaze at these peaks from afar, now and again to visit awed at their feet, to listen for their stories of near-eternity.

I always retreat back home chastened.

So infinitesimal among such immensity.





2 thoughts on “To Shut Out the Immensity

  1. Oh, Emily, this is beyond beautiful. Your photos, the words that come from deep within your soul, are a paean to the ancient craggy beauty of these majestic, silent witnesses to His supreme creation. In my early adulthood it was the sea, its vastness, constant unchangeable motion, and its smell and its both quiet and roaring sounds that drew me into it and captured my imagination. And it still does. In later years, however, I have begun to see the mountains in their own spectacular magnificent beauty as they rise so majestically as silent sentinels giving testament to the grandeur and solid, dependable strength of all that our Creator-God has provided for us to enjoy and wonder about.

    In New York State we have two major mountain chains. Upstate we have the Adirondacks, the younger of the two, with their sharp ragged crests that seem to soar straight to the heavens and beyond. Mid- to Downstate, are the Catskills, with their softer, rounded peaks, seemingly bowing to His grandeur, often touched with a gentle haze that bespeak in thanksgiving for the beauty of wisdom and of aging gracefully.

    You write so often, Emily, about taking the time to stop-see-acknowledge-appreciate the beauty that our loving God has gifted us to enjoy and to enhance our surroundings in this, our temporary home. I notice immediately that, when I DO take the time to do this, to put all the anxiety and angst of daily living out of my mind – clear the slate for a time – and just look-see-wonder-imagine- as the beauty of His Gifts, His promised Presence, touch my soul in a quiet, peaceful and most healing way. I can then continue on my journey knowing that He does love us in a way that we have yet to fully realize or to grasp.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes, spending time with nature – from looking at the Blue Mountain to my north – to the tiniest of flowers at my feet – to the goldfinch, bluebird, cardinal, and hummingbirds at my feeders – I experience the gift of God’s peace.


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