Nature as metaphor

This may be one of the most photographed tree trunks in America. It’s on the Trail of the Cedars in Glacier National Park. Despite it’s popularity, I can’t help making pictures of it each time I pass. The texture, the soft curves juxtaposed with the sharp edges of the bark, the range of tones when dappled sunlight strikes it, I just can’t help myself.

Later that same evening, we were standing along McDonald Creek, marveling at the tremendous force, the tumult, the turmoil of the creek as it shot out of the mountains, bouncing off of giant boulders toward the serene Lake McDonald a short distance away. It made me think of life’s periods of anger, fear, uncertainty, and how they often lead to placid and peaceful places not far away.

Finally, there’s this waterfall. This is St. Mary Falls on the eastern side of Glacier. Waterfalls for me are a giant contradiction. From a distance, a contrast of the incredible movement of the water against the incredible stoicism of the rock. I can see the flexibility, the adaptability of the water, finding a way to its destination. I can see the consistency, the strength, the stubbornness of the stones, unyeilding to this ever-present, annoying force. And yet I know it is the water that will one day win and turn the stone to sand. And waterfalls are at the same time terribly scary — I definitely don’t want to swim over one — and refreshing, even calming — on a hot day, even the air around waterfalls is cooler.

5 thoughts on “Nature as metaphor

  1. Your comments are insightful, as well as heart-touching. Your thoughts about the rock and the eventual wearing down of the rock by water can make a case for flexibility.. We, as humans, need to be able to see various paths to the solving of a problem. At the moment the rock, in its stoicism wins, but the flexible, reactive water suceeds in the end. In our political life, we must take this to heart.

  2. Beautiful, beautiful! Nature heals and brings us back to ourselves, for sure. Thanks for the visual reminders that save us when we can make it out to stand with the trees and water. Next time you’re up here, let me know!

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