• Scott Close

Mountain Text

"The struggle of man against man produces jealousy, deceit, frustration, bitterness, hate.  The struggle of man against the mountains is different.  Man then bows before Something that is bigger than he.  When he does that, he finds serenity and humility, and dignity too."  -Of Men and Mountains, by former supreme court justice William O. Douglas (1898-1980).

Though Wikipedia omits these famous memoirs from William O. Douglas' digital meta, the above quoted rings hard and true.  The first editions printed in 1950 have taught, green linen-covered hardbacks with faint golden foil pressed on their spine.  Inside the front cover, a hand-drawn map representing a portion of the eastern Cascades stretches two pages and does more for cartography than many byte replacements.

My copy, worn and dusty with dog-eared edges reminding myself to take note or to return, has penciled underlines of excerpts that nod to that angelical of a moment to which time is tranquil, to which fiction sits suspended at present and in good stead finds a tangible reality among the rocks and trees without guilt, greed, or guile.  An excellent read for those of us longing for the wild spirituality away from cell phones (the absence of which, supplanted by nature, also significantly boosts cognition).

Apropos this closing by Aldo Leopold, from "Thinking Like a Mountain":

“We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes.  I realized then and have known ever since that there was something new to me in those eyes, something known only to her and to the mountain."


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