From the Witch’s Bedtable


These moments come unpredictably, yet governed, it would seem, by a law whose working is dimly understood.  They come to me most often, as I have indicated, waking out of outdoor sleep, gazing tranced at the running of water and listening to its song, and most of all after hours of steady walking, with the long rhythm of motion sustained until motion is felt, not merely known by the brain, as the “still center” of being.  . . .  Walking thus, hour after hour, the senses keyed, one walks the flesh transparent.  But no metaphor, transparent, or light as air is adequate.  The body is not made negligible, but paramount.  Flesh is not annihilated but fulfilled.  One is not bodiless, but essential body.


I believe that I now understand in some small measure why the Buddhist goes on pilgrimage to a mountain.  The journey is itself part of the technique by which the god is sought.  It is a journey into Being; for as I penetrate more deeply into the mountain’s life, I penetrate also into my own.  For an hour I am beyond desire.  It is not ecstasy, that leap out of the self that makes man like a god.  I am not out of myself, but in myself.  I am.  To know Being, this is the final grace accorded from the mountain.

The Living Mountain  by Nan Shepherd.

Picture found here.

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