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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Silent Kingdom

There lies about the land a poetry which defies words- transcends them- which bleeds the heard before a single word is spoken. And in that silence, whether together or alone in the world and sharing only the company of a wayward mind, the land spreads its reach and embraces the soul without repose. Therein endures the power of a forgotten kingdom whose presence cannot be understood until it is felt. Witnessed. Lived as a shadow beside so staggering an existence as presides over this land.

Tranquillity, pure and absolute, greets every turn of the foot and lure to the eye. It enters upon the mind so wholly that anything bound to imagination is shattered as a pale illusion to the true beauty of what rests in that perfect wilderness. For it holds a vastness of unfathomable proportions. Both in monoliths that tower over the valley, the things which grow between, and the thrill of excitement which cannot help but be set free for the knowing that no amount of time can exhaust its coming.

At times, and I would have lied were I to sat that it was not every moment, every view and breath and sound taken in, each spray of water thundering down impossible heights and bald faces of the mountains and sprawling meadows, at times I am called a gentle reminder that I have been too long away.

Unfamiliar sounds and scents awaken a primeval corner of the spirit which has known all along that this is a home that transcends walls and roads. For here the land is wild but not impassable. Brought to silence, but is not unquiet. Veiled in a pure and resounding blackness, but it is not dark. Embraced by the cold, but not uninviting.

It is impossible through pictures and words alone to capture the beauty of such a place. Rather, it is one of those experiences- no, awakenings- which might come once in a lifetime, but if by grace comes twice is no less diminished by its first libation. 

Colour returned to the landscape, shades I had all but forgotten to the arid south. Vibrant shades of green, deep and lush, as the trees and grasses and mosses grew out of every habitable slope and shelf. Places where life has no business growing  but finds its way all the same. It was the return of these colours in shades and hues which have by months escaped me: dreams of changing seasons.

As night falls and long shadows become resolute, a thousand thousand worlds unveil the twilight sky. Each one so far and old and different from our own, yet each filled with that same sense of kindred mystery and longing for what lies ever a stride beyond our reach. And so I sat and watched on the edge of the world as the sun slid below the crest of a distant ridgeline to reveal a crepuscular explosion of mingled twilight.

Yet even so, life's subtle curiosities return with the sun's arrival. Things small and unassuming, easy to overlook in a land where bald granite domes jut thousands of feet into the sky like so many broken giants' teeth. The birds and the flowers, lichens and mosses, acorns and needles and insects of a thousand kind. Each of which has somewhere in the vastness of the world found its place, and for so many of them that place was one.

Frustrations of civilisation and its burdens slowly melt away as the land becomes untame, worries as the land grows wild. It is a transformation that becomes a transformation, a change instilled by change; it is, in a word, one which feeds the other, and the other back again until nothing remains but the deepest calm and wonder.

Nature's hand sculpts the rock with precise care, tends its greeneries with unfailing devotion. By wind and water and ice and the gradual passing of time, imperfections simply cease to be. What seemed a fault crumbles away to reveal a gleaming face. What once was burned returns to ash and breathes new life where life fought only to survive. What looked to be the scars of man upon those hills in time consumed them, returning to a gentle peace undisturbed.

Inservile thought fades from the heart and that little which remains does so without the fiery temperament which in its former life struck vehemence at even the fairer city winds. A nomadic life has become of me- not by habit or by choice but by circumstance alone- and has left nowhere a home but for places I have never lived or those long since moved away in whom only the fond memories remain. Yet here at the heart of it all something wakens. Something that beckons the spirit and uplifts the soul. That same spirit which dances about with a musical lyricy unbound by the constraints of an industrialised civilisation.

Out in the wilds there is nothing but to find new and fantastic meaning for things with which you have lived your entire life a nebulous idea yet without ever truly understanding.

I'll see you where the roads meet.


  1. Beautifully written and incredible eye candy of the wonders of the wilderness wilds.

    Have to ask. What's the first picture of?

    1. Thank you! It was a wonderful trip and my only regret is that it could not have been longer.

      When you are entering the park, there is a tunnel cut through the mountains that opens up into the first clear view into Yosemite Valley. There, there is a bronze casting of the valley and its sheltering peaks and domes. That picture is looking through the valley in bronze towards El Capitan.