Tuesday, 9 January 2007
The Best Thing
The best thing about sitting out on the terrace at my in-laws is looking out at this view of mountains and lake. I took this photo in winter; at the moment there is not as much snow on the mountains, apart from that which is shaded in sunless fissures.
The mountains run north-south, just as, apparantly, most mountain ranges in the world do. I say most because I have it on good authority that there is a range not far from here (The Carolines) that run east-west - a fact which fascinates geologists the world over; so much so, they come out here to have a look-see for themselves. Although, I feel I must clarify; The Carolines aren't really mountains, but high hills (the sort that get called mountains in Wales or Scotland.)
The mountains I am feasting my eyes on these days (until tomorrow when we return to the coast) are called The Remarkables. Scoured, jagged and very close, they seem to stand like towering guards, wearing blue uniforms in the morning light when the sun is behind them, then becoming more defined as the day goes on, turning to the tan of fatigues, or combat-green.
These rocky mountais are evidence of a glacier's sharp turn right to head south, and bear all the marks of the distress this caused. Wrinkled as a rhino's hide in summer, in winter they are more resplendent, cloaked and shrouded in snow. As the sun sinks, they become glass mountains, often taking on an apricot-pink sheen from the reflection of the sun's rays.
Over the years, the distinctive jags on the tips of the northernmost end have become etched on my brain. They've become as familiar as friends. Even when far removed from them, I can still see in my mind's eye the saw-tooth ridge where the range begins, then the way it climbs to three higher points called The Three Sisters. Below them, a scarf of white snow picks out what is called The Queen's Drive.
I said the best thing about sitting out on the terrace was looking at the view - but that's not strictly true. The best thing about it is shutting my eyes, listening to the birds, the sound of the neighbours' children squabbling, the slap and thump of a speed boat making its way up the lake, the hoot of the old steamer Earnslaw as it sets off on its mid-day cruise, then (and here comes the very best part of all) opening my eyes again and seeing that it all hasn't disappeared. That it is true. That it is real; this view. This beauty.