Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Need of Mountains

To my surprise, the other morning, I found myself suddenly longing for the sight of mountains. I mean real mountains. And forest. Wilderness. Wildness. The sort of landscape you might get seriously lost in. Just for a change. I don’t feel this often, but every now and then it pops up and surprises me.

It would be impossible to get lost here. In most parts of England, you can’t walk for more than eight or ten miles in a straight line without ending up in a place where you can fill up your water bottle, buy (or beg) a sandwich, or catch a ride to somewhere where you could. And in a way I love that. I love the safety of it, the feeling of being held and cherished by the funny little patchwork island that gave me birth.

And yet, just to be contrary, sometimes I long to be able to turn a corner in the road and glimpse high mountains in the distance. Or to stand somewhere high up, where I can see for a hundred miles without my eye lighting on one single sign of human habitation.

Not to see it on film, either, but to be there and stand in it and breathe it in. To feel the heat coming from the rocks. To catch the green flash of a lizard as it scuttles past my feet and then to lift my eyes and feel them straining to see all the way to the farthest horizon, just as my mind strains to encompass the greatness of it all.

I guess what I want is to be reminded, every now and then, that the Earth is bigger and older and wiser and a zillion times more vast and unknowable than humans seem to think She is. I need to have it pointed out to me, by the massiveness of mountains and the endlessness of forests, how small and insignificant I am compared to the entirety of this planet. I want to be visibly reminded of my puniness and of the stupidity of believing that anything I do or say or write can have more than a pinprick of significance in the great scheme of things. A homeopathic dose of anti-arrogance. That’s what I like. Every once in a while.


Jennifer said...

Well said. I have been longing to visit a couple of friends of mine who live in Colorado... partly because I miss them, and partly because I miss mountains, sometimes, too.

wildside said...

Wonderful!!! That's all to be said and you've said it.

I told the person who sent the link to your blog that you are expressing things I am thinking, but am not. Except I dream of mountains and vast wilderness all the time!

joared said...

Very interesting perspective on the need for mountain views. Don't know that I've ever thought about the experience in just that way, but can certainly understand what you're saying -- a powerful point of view.

KerrdeLune said...

Marian, you have articulated my feelings about mountains perfectly - how I long for those wonderful uprisings of old rock, for the deep green forests at their feet and cold clear lakes.

Cowtown Pattie said...

Exactly my sentiments about the Big Bend area of Texas. Absolutely me. Some folks don't like the desert/mountain combination, but there is something soulful in that part of my beautiful state.

If we could make a decent enough living, we'd be living there right now!

Hedgewitch said...

another beautiful post.. your writing is so inspiring!

I love the way you describe England, I knew exactly what you meant while I read it, and it chimed a real chord with my own feelings for it... the 'funny little patchwork island that gave me birth'

And I also really understand what you mean by needing to feel the enormity of Earth, the sheer power and scale and majesty. It is (and should be) humbling to realise that each of us is a mere insignificant speck on such a landscape. Not only in terms of size but also in time.. our individual existences are fleeting in comparison with the longevity of Earth and her guardians, the trees, for example

However, I struggled with the sense that nothing that one says or does can have lasting significance. I think I understand what you mean .. our lives and thoughts are each miniscule threads in a richly woven tapestry.. none on its own is more significant than that.. but I really do believe that individual voices can make an impact.

Especially a wise and thoughtful voice such as yours.

I have to believe this and I do see it in the world around me. Perhaps only as a ripple effect, but a lone voice can be just what someone needed to lift them and get them through the day.. and can motivate and inspire and bring about change on global scale?

As human beings, we are so arrogant .. the tides and seasons which have always been, will continue to be after we are gone, as though we never were. There is a comfort to be found in this, I think. But during our time here we can still acheive much by living in harmony with Earth and learning from her. Though she is so vast and ageless and endlessly self-renewing and perhaps doesn't need our help, we can at least attempt not to be a hindrance!

Elderwoman said...

Thank you all for these lovely comments. And yes you are right, Hedgewitch, I need to remember the importance of the so-called 'butterfly effect'.

Kate said...

I agree with your commenters, esp. Hedgewitch.
And I thank you for reminding me to avoid taking 'my' mountains for granted, especially now, when all the National Forest lands around here will be shut down - closed - on May 1st. We're in south central New Mexico, in the midst of a drought and with fires already burning in the state.

Lots of mixed feelings about all that, but you can bet I'll be out in the woods/mountains today & tomorrow.

NadieAchak said...

Darling, you speak from the heart of an old soul. Your keen insight has impressed me so - as you know, the mountains are symbolic and majestic and date back to ancient times.

I lived in the mountains of Sunter Nat'l Forest SC for over 34 yrs on a small quaint lake surrounded by nature. It was there that my soul was nourished - so much healing took place.

I have added you to my blog for my friends so they can enjoy your wisdom as well at I've never surfed the blogs and happened on to yours . . . and I feel the better for it. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. Nadie

Ernestine said...

Dear Marion, All of your sharing touches my soul.
Like you long for the mountains, I long for the ocean.
All of the comments are equaling touching to me.
I almost felt to intimidated to respond.
I wish with all of my heart that I had the talent to express myself in words the way all of you do.
I am moved each time I look at the wonderful photography and sharing of kerrdelune.
I plan homes and gardens and I wish I had the talent all of you possess.
Blessings to all of you

Cheryl said...

Great you read peoples minds?
Lovely photos, hhhmmmm smell that clean air.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Thanks for all the great info. I was browsing through a bunch of green websites and blogs and I came across yours and found it very interesting. There are a bunch of others I like too, like the daily green, ecorazzi and I especially like’s carbon calculator ( I find it really easy to use (it doesn’t make me feel guilty after I take it). Are there any others you would recommend? Can you drop me a link to your favorites (let me know if they are the same as mine).

Elderwoman said...

In response to the last comment: many of my favorite 'green' links can be found on the 'Resources' page of the Lilypad List website - see: