Friday, March 28, 2014

storm in the valley

To watch a storm descend on a valley is to watch humanity as it is humbled. Yes, it is that dark, almost black shade  of a sky that  makes us gulp. Sure, it is a tearing wind, charging through distant trees, that makes us hold our breath. But, it is that depth and texture of the blackness; the obvious, lumbering, crushing weight of the sky that humbles us. The sheer bombast of  nature in these moments reminds us of our insignificance.  To watch such a scene unfold is to wonder at the sublime. 

This  moment of sublime, of natural grandiosity, of fright and beauty,  beckons for the return of figures like that of the great romanticist and transcendentalist movements.  Turner, Homer, Cole , Whitman, Emerson, and Thoreau; these men reminded us of the scale of things, of our size, of nature’s unwavering ability to overwhelm us with awe and respect. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

In the pines

     The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of combustion. As landscape that routinely sees fire, this timbered region often wears its scars on its sleeves.   It is clear that these conflagrations do benefit the ecosystem; but,  to walk into a stand of old growth pine,   that have escaped fires for centuries, is a joyous experience. The Tobacco Root mountains of Southwestern Montana bursts with these lucky trees. Here, whitebark, lodge pole, and ponderosa pine tower over the forest floor and bring a wisdom to these high woodlands.