NW Aspect of the Southern Picket Range at Dawn

North Cascades, Washington

I awoke to a gentle summer warmth that lured me easily from my sleeping bag. The morning was remarkably calm; a stillness almost dreamlike. From the mountain-top, it draped over the land, engulfing the landscape so thoroughly it seemed that had I tried to speak, no sound would have come forth. It mesmerized me, and with its spell, emphasized the enormity of the space around me. An echo of cascading water rose up from the valley depths with such soft, delicate clarity and with such a sense of unreachable distance that it inspired my spatial imagination. I closed my eyes for a moment and felt an almost surreal sensation, floating above the world and immersed in its heart at the same time. Sound became a measure of the size of the world and I was a dolphin, buoyant within its vastness.

Color descended through the sky from an unseen horizon. And just as the stillness had transformed my hearing, it also seemed to amplify the radiance and depth of my vision. In some sense, it felt as though the light had gained its own sound; a subtle choral crescendo, flowing and articulate. Extending up to meet the sky, a colossal uplift towered panoramically around me. Classically carved by an epoch of alpine glaciation, it formed an imposing monument. Yet with their low valley footings, the sheerness of their walls and the sharp, leaning pinnacles of their summits, these mountains seemed anything but static. I imagined them in motion; giant, mythic creatures, forming the heart of a vast moving herd, a wave of innumerable individuals spanning the length of the range. Surfacing for air, they arched their undulating, subterranean bodies, protruding like the amassed dorsal fins of leviathan orcas in a geologic wave of migration across the plain of the earth.