Mowich Lake, Rainier
The northwest face of Rainier is brilliant, washed in light as the earth turns towards sunset. I only see the West Crater of the Columbia Crest still in sunlight from here, seven thousand feet above me. Right now if you were sixty miles away to the west, the whole mountain would illuminate like a rising moon, almost hovering just above the horizon. It is massive, a volcanic complex of smaller mountains, parks, valleys, streams and lakes circumnavigating it’s flanks. Camped for the night on part of the more western shoulder, I have wandered before dinner along the lake in its basin, the bright light of day long gone. I’ve watched the slopes leading up to the summit grow dark in its own umbra as the evening progressed. Clouds add to the gloom as the mountain literally splits them and creates new weather of it’s own. Sometimes you stumble around a bend in the trail and all the elements of nature’s elegance and accumulated experience come together...finding myself in a valley of shadow, the verse runs through my head. Head and heart connect, inevitably. I’m not particularly religious; I have my beliefs. Enough time in wild country makes you think about the coincidence versus randomness. Whatever our belief, it is trust in that faith that we take comfort in. Again, head and heart connect. My own clumsy psalm praises what my eyes take in, and I offer up a silent appreciation before walking on, through the valley of the shadow.