Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Holy the Firm: The edge of the known and comprehended world

Mount Baker, originally uploaded by Brandon Godfrey.
"I came here to study hard things—rock mountain and salt sea—and to temper my spirit on their edges. 'Teach me thy ways, O Lord,' is, like all prayers, a rash one, and one I cannot but recommend. These mountains—Mount Baker and the sisters and Shuksan, the Canadian Coastal Range and the Olympics on the peninsula—are surely the edge of the known and comprehended world. They are high. That they bear their own unimaginable masses and weathers aloft, holding them up in the sky for anyone to see plain, makes them as Chesterton said of the Eucharist, only the more mysterious by their very visibility and absence of secrecy. They are the western rim of the real, if not considerably beyond it. If the Greeks had looked at Mount Baker all day, their large and honest art would have broken, and they would have gone fishing, as these people do. And as perhaps I one day shall.

"But the mountains are, incredibly, east. When I first came here I faced east and watched the mountains, thinking, These are the Ultima Thule, the final westering, the last serrate margin of time. Since they are, incredibly, east, I must be no place at all. But the sun rose over the snowfields and woke me where I lay, and I rose and cast a shadow over someplace, and thought, There is, God help us, more. So gathering my bowls and spoons, and turning my head, as it were, I moved to face west, relinquishing all hope of sanity, for what is more."

~Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm

1 comment:

paul thomas said...

That book kicked my ass.