Mt Baker in Morning Light

North Cascades, Washington

Blues and greens overwhelmed the landscape as soft mountain ridges merged in deep, heavy hues. I stepped high through the long grass and flower-topped stems of a large, sloping meadow drenched in a heavy dew. The sky had been clear the night before, but the morning’s cast was dark and foreboding. Cold, moist air rushed into my lungs as I rejoined a path and continued up to the undulating summit ridge. Wide expanses reached out in all directions only to succumb to a dim, vaporous diffusion. High above, a streaked cloud ceiling hung over the land. A faint scent of leaves and soil mixed with the moist air. I put my hat on over cold ears, raised my hands to numb cheeks, and smiled in recognition. The morning light had faded in ever so slowly. It was the first summer morning to signal the approach of Fall.

Suddenly, a horizontal band of light shot across the blueness. Like a beam of divine vision, a stream of light panned across the mountain slopes. Unlighted land seemed to fall away. Surging through the clouds like water through a breached levee, the beam widened and lit up the dark landscape. To the north, rising like some lost, mythic temple, Mt. Baker burst above a plateau of clouds. The silky veil of a lenticular cloud capped the broad summit, a strong wind blowing the tail of it eastward. A portion of the cloud had broken off and was drifting away from the mountain when I took this image. Moments later it was gone.