April 18th, 2008


Last weekend we were in Yosemite. The trees, as always, gave me a sense of peace and happiness. The smell of dirt refreshed my appetite for the world. Water, in all its forms from snow to vapor to rushing river to cascade, opened my ears and my heart.

What surprised me was the rocks.

The soaring cliffs, the giant boulders, the fields teeming with stones. I usually respond to things that move, like wind, like leaves, like streams. The rocks move, but in a wholly different way. It’s more like they represent the large movements of time; they remember glaciers and earthquakes and even dynamite.

My inner hippie nature lover is tempered by my inner reader. I know that some of what made my spirit lift was the sheer height of the rocks. I think it was in Charlie Tart’s book on altered states of consciousness, but it may have been in William James’s Varieties of Religious Experience, that I read that when people are hypnotized and their sense of depth perception is enhanced, they feel elated. Very tall trees, like redwoods, and cliffs seem to have the same effect without possible voodoo quackery. No matter what the cause, the effect was wonderful.

I want to go back.