Watching the Mountain

…I am watching the mountain. And the second I verbalize this awareness in my brain, I cease to see the mountain…. I am opaque, so much black asphalt.

I look at the mountain, which is still doing its tricks, as you look at a still-beautiful face belonging to a person who was once your lover in another country years ago: with fond nostalgia, and recognition, but no real feeling save a secret astonishment that you are now strangers. Thanks. For the memories. It is ironic that the one thing that all religions recognize as separating us from our creator — our very self-consciousness — is also the one thing that divides us from our fellow creatures. It was a bitter birthday present from evolution, cutting us off at both ends. I get in the car and drive home.
~Annie Dillard from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

We drive up the highway an hour or so to lose ourselves rather than become more self-conscious. We want to be witness to grander things.

Once we turn the bend into Heather Meadows, Mount Shuksan suddenly appears, overwhelming the landscape. There is simply nothing else to look at so I stand there gawking, forgetting to breathe.
Then I realize that I have become more self-conscious rather than less: here am I at the foot of this incredible creation, wondering at how blessed I am to be there, and it becomes all about me. The mountain has been here for eons and will continue to be here for eons, and we’re merely passing through, bubbles floating on the unending stream of time.

Yesterday we were completely alone in what typically is a place of many gawkers, all setting up tripods and clicking cameras. It was absolutely silent – even the birds had abandoned the chilly hills for warmer climes lower down.

Most remarkable yesterday was the stillness meant there was a double delight: two mountains, reflection and the real thing herself. It is the most glass-like the lakes have been on our many visits.

We had to finally climb in the car and head back down the highway to home. I carry these images back with me to remember that moment of awestruck witness. The image isn’t the real thing, it isn’t even the real reflection. Yet it is me watching the mountain watching me back.

It just might be about me after all.

5 thoughts on “Watching the Mountain

  1. the whole cascade range….love the perfectly still water you manage to capture! thanks again for sharing such beauty with us…and making us think! ; )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I could never tire of viewing these majestic beauties — silent sentinels, an inspiring testament to their Creator’s desire to surround us with beauty….
    Thank you, Emily, for these pictures. I hope that you are planning to spend some time in your retirement organizing your magnificent collection for publication so that others may enjoy one more of your artistic gifts..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I attended boarding school in Washington state for 2 years, and from my dorm room I could see Mt. Rainier. I had never seen or felt anything like it’s presence before! Even when the clouds covered it, I knew it was there behind them. For my time there, it was my talisman.

    Liked by 1 person

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