August 14, 2009

Larger Than Life

Towering over the Pacific Northwest, 14,411-foot Mount Rainier rises from the emerald green shoulders of the Cascades, part of the feared Pacific Ring of Fire.  This muzzled monster, like its sister, St. Helens, could bury millions of us miles-deep in minced evergreens and pureed glacial boulders, laced with a devilish dollop of flaming lava.

Creeping up the spine of this dozing mammoth in late summer, we’re cheered by otherwise shy wildflowers.  Frosty-clear rills are prancing over muscle-bound, granite Lego’s like Fred Astaire descending from some Rhode Island-sized snowfield.  Each trail turn frames a post card keepsake.

Back in the century-old lodge at Paradise, in the warm embrace of the great stone fireplace, we reflect on the breathless scale of this looming lady who peekaboos with tourists, bucks climbers from its glacial withers like an unbroken bronc, this snowy sentinel that defines its kingdom.

We mortals tilt toward overstating ourselves.  But standing near, on or even atop Rainier, you’re still a gnat alongside a nebula.  It truly is larger than life. Or is it?  

Inspired ancients predicted in writing that one day the stars will fall from the sky, and the mountains will collapse into the seas.  But the central figure of that same book vows that you and I will live forever, even beyond death.  And it says we have a choice as to our ultimate address.

Now we’re talkin’ larger than life.  

Have you met the Mountain Mover?

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