Seen through the windshield, first shooting star is precipitous, unbelievable. It appears at the hazy edge of vision and even before my eyes in reflex dart to see it it's gone. It is a thing of transcendental frailty, like an orb of dense magic, or a grain of sand in some stellar hourglass. And so come the rest, plummeting now through the atmosphere in Jupiterian rhythm, the weight of their celestial histories burning up behind them. Flowing eons in the comet's cosmic stream ended now (for now) by the deep graviton tides of orbiting Earth, strange new home.
How long is a moment?
What is impermanence?
Look northeast on a late summer night.
In the trail of a falling star it's all laid bare.
dark flowers, above
comet's silent stream
One-lane road, headlit tunnel through trees, til trailhead. Sweating in the torchlight, more climb than hike through firs, canopy only known by the starlight shapes left uncovered by needly boughs. Suddenly whole expanse of nighttime sound is laid out before me, twinkling electronic moonlight metropolis. But trail kept up. Make peak as the first predawn orange swell silhouettes Rainier. Not long til Cascade sunlight crests radiant. Day.
//Sunrise over Mt. Washington seen from Mt. Ellinor in the Mt. Skokomish Wilderness, Olympic Mountains.
Standing on top of a mountain is an exercise in imagining infinity. You're confronted with not just the expanse of the earth around you but the intricacy of its detail. You can look down and see dozens of rocks, each different in its shape, texture, composition, and in a billion other ways that you can't detect. You can see that each blade of grass, each patch of moss is the same way. You then see how that's not just around your feet, it's in every direction as far as your vision holds out. And in that moment you experience the radical variety, the boundless wonder of the earth, the universe, existence. It exceeds your brain's capacity to process, your mind's ability to comprehend. You're completely overwhelmed and, of course, you've never been happier.
//Predawn in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness, Colorado
Mt. Cruiser before dawn on an August Morning, with clear views to the heavily-glaciated Mt. Olympus looming in the distance.