John Muir on Mount Hood
Just a simple post tonight, an excerpt from Steep Trails, a collection of three decades worth of the famed naturalist John Muir’s writings. This is a passage about one of his most memorable sightings of Mount Hood from Portland, “one calm evening in July”
Absorbed in the happy scene, given up to dreamy, random observation of what lay immediately before me, I was not conscious of anything occurring on the outer rim of the landscape. Forest, mountain, and sky were forgotten, when my companion suddenly directed my attention to the eastward, shouting, “Oh, look! look!” in so loud and excited a tone of voice that passers-by, saunterers like ourselves, were startled and looked over the bridge as if expecting to see some boat upset. Looking across the forest, over which the mellow light of the sunset was streaming, I soon discovered the source of my friend’s excitement. There stood Mount Hood in all the glory of the alpenglow, looming immensely high, beaming with intelligence, and so impressive that one was overawed as if suddenly brought before some superior being newly arrived from the sky.
The atmosphere was somewhat hazy, but the mountain seemed neither near nor far. Its glaciers flashed in the divine light. The rugged, storm-worn ridges between them and the snowfields of the summit, these perhaps might have been traced as far as they were in sight, and the blending zones of color about the base. But so profound was the general impression, partial analysis did not come into play. The whole mountain appeared as one glorious manifestation of divine power, enthusiastic and benevolent, glowing like a countenance with ineffable repose and beauty, before which we could only gaze in devout and lowly admiration.