This Morning, The Extravagant Beauty

This morning, the extravagant beauty of the Columbia River Gorge rose up on the left, as I drove, in a tumult of basalt, in columns, in twisted, splayed deposits, and on the right in wide reaches of water that stretched sheets of wind-flared light - all in continual variety, and understandable,

mile after mile. Then, far in the west, an alien cone rose above everything: Mt. Hood, having wholly forsaken fire, wrapped itself in geometric snow, hung in the air like a startling idea, an invention patterned on romance, a study of detachment done in rock,

serene with the aloofness of rock, but, like quartz on slate, not determined to be unique, yet wholly different - like a suddenly seen new aspect of reality that, while understood, hovers just beyond understanding in the shimmering air of possibility.

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