Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Seat Among the Clouds

Mountains are the subject of legend and mythology. Some cultures revere mountains as sacred places. The rise, girth, steepness of mountain peaks piercing the clouds seem at times poetic and sacred, and awe inspiring.

Fittingly mountains are also the center of literary forms. In a poem by Gary Snyder, a Cold Mountain path becomes a metaphor for the trajectory of life where the trials of the trail lead to a seat among the clouds:
“Clambering up the Cold Mountain path,
The Cold Mountain trail goes on and on:
The long gorge choked with scree and boulders,
The wide creek, the mist-blurred grass.
The moss is slippery, though there's been no rain
The pine sings, but there's no wind.
Who can leap the world's ties
And sit with me among the white clouds?”
Gary Snyder, Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems
A motion graphics video by Al Boardman illustrates the visual essence and characteristics of Earth's most extraordinary mountains from Everest to Monadnock:

For the Love of Mountains by Al Boardman on Vimeo.

EverestHighest Mountain in Altitude
K2Hardest Mountain to Climb
Annapurna IMost Dangerous Mountain
Gangkhar PuensumHighest Unclimbed Mountain
Ojos del SaladoHighest Active Volcano
KailashMost Sacred Mountain
LoganMountain with Largest Circumference
KilimanjaroHighest Free Standing Mountain
Mauna KeaTallest Mountain from Base to Summit
MonadnockMost Climbed Mountain

John Muir wrote,
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn."
John Muir, Our National Parks
Sacred places are physical and mental loci we return to for solace, well-being, peace and good tidings. On returning to climb in the Sierra Nevada after 31 years, Gary Snyder wrote,
“Range after range of mountains.
Year after year after year.
I am still in love.”
Gary Snyder