from high mountains

“on the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.” – nietzsche

i wake early this morning to a thin mist–the kind that promises to burn off in a few moments.  i know immediately what i have to do.  foregoing my normal coffee-routine, i don workout gear and hiking shoes, grab my camera, and start up the mountain.   like everything around me, my lungs and skin drink in the steam, silently thanking me for this trot through the vapor.  along the way, the world dances into my irises with a surreal, ever-shifting blend of golden light and mist.   trees drink and drip.  birds chirp, aflutter in the underbrush.  all of los angeles has its head in the low-lying clouds.

up, up i hike, up to the roof of the fog.  suddenly, i’m above it all.  everything around me is clear blue sky and piercing yellow light.  below, all is fog.  truth is like weather–everywhere undeniable, everywhere local.  i, a lone hiker, somehow move between these two worlds this morning.  i ascend.

i summit.  here i am, alone, atop the mountain.   from here, i put my question to the clouds.  a thin line of brown lies above the white blanket of moisture, slouching westward.  brown tinges this rolling sea of mist, complicating the aesthetic.  a piece of burbank is sunlit, just as the drifting cloud-cover circumvents the mountain before reuniting past it.  in one pocket of sun, a long procession of vehicles already moves down the superhighway.  downtown and hollywood are shrouded.  greater los angeles has only a few pockets of clarity.

i meditate on the history of humanity and our relation to heights, mountains, ascent.  our ancestors knew the value of vantage-points.  treetops are one thing, mountaintops another.  up here, one can see for miles around.   ancient metaphors link seeing to thinking, visual acuity with mental acuity.  seeing is believing.  see what i’m saying?  this mountaintop-experience inspires me to continue to weigh visionaries on the value-creativity of their vision.  this morning, for a brief moment, i am above it all.  time to descend once more.

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