Walking the World: Look at the Mountain!

The simplest and most powerful
of all possible tests is the test
of doing without.

Having touched and lifted countless rocks, my eyes sense
effortlessly the mountain's rough, cold texture, its immensity, its
great weight.

But this image, while certainly as real as it is beautiful, is still just an
image, strangely ungrounded, distant. Looking through my glass,
I notice how the sight of two climbers slowly crossing a steep snowfield
instantly provides not only proportion, but also a feeling for absolute size—
a kind of kindred presence, bringing that which is far away closer to home.

But to actually cross the snowfield oneself—step by step, breath by breath,
is in some profound sense truly to make the mountain your own. And that's
the wonder of walking; it threads the world and oneself into one, inseparable
weave. I say, the world is not just seen, but made with the soles of one's feet.

| go to Picture/Poems: Central Display | PicturePage: Week I |
| see also another Walking the World essays at
Backpack Pilgrim;  The Devil Stands on the other Side | 
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Texts © 1999 Cliff Crego   All Rights Reserved 
(created: III.9.2002)