Red Tarn with Rock and Mt Shuksan
North Cascades, Washington
A thin sheet of clouds advanced from the west, horizon wide and almost imperceptibly slow. The brilliant morning sunlight succumbed silently as harsh rays diffused into a softer light upon a still bright landscape. The wild autumn colors grew richer. By mid morning the sky's hazy blueness had dissolved into a terrestrial vault of smooth, white vapor.
view from the ridgecrest revealed a stark, new landscape. Amidst a pallet
of brown and gray earthtones an alpine wall rose to my left as a ramp
of exposed bedrock led me down into a large deglaciated barrens strewn
with morainal debris. The footing became jumbled and loose and my pace
slowed as I wound a path over and around the tall mounds of rocks and
powdery gray silt. My eyes widened as a small pond came into view. The
water was a deep maroon color I'd never seen in water before. A single,
large rock sat perfectly in the middle of it, and looking over that rock
the distant, classic summit of Mt. Shuksan stared back. The scene affected
me powerfully and I stopped to lower my pack. I bent low to peer into
the red water and delighted at the brilliant green moss at it's edge.
The alignment of the rock and the distant mountain seemed to suggest a
simple truth about erosion and age, about the passage of time and of generations
of birth and death. I had a sense of the rock around me and of the mountain
as living entities, and I imagined them savoring their own lifetimes,
no less than I cherish my own. I rested there for a good long time; looking,
thinking and listening to a tantalizing silence.
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