April 08, 2006
I miss geography
"On clear winter days the Olympic and Cascade mountains flank the trough of Puget Sound like a fence of white-capped waves. We've got mountains like Iowa's got flat. And yet the local vernacular admits only one 'Mountain', and when Rainier rises we tell each other, "The Mountain is out." Mount Rainier is at once the most public symbol of the Pacific Northwest and its most sacred private icon. A friend once disclosed that she says a prayer whenever she sees it .... Like rain and rivers and trees, the mountain is a continuous presence in our lives, but in our psychological landscape it occupies a place separate and greater than the forests and falling water. We look at Rainier and feel love for a mountain, if such a thing is possible."
Bruce Barcott, The measure of a mountain: Beauty and terror on Mount Rainier, quoted in Arches (my alumni magazine). Photo from the USGS.