by Peter Whitehouse, Ohio

Before we lose more mountains, we need to learn to think like them. So Aldo Leopold advised us in his famous land ethic metaphor “think like a mountain” that was echoed by the progenitor of the concept of deep ecology, Arne Naess, himself a Norwegian mountaineer as well as philosopher.

“Thinking like a mountain” means aspiring to great heights, imagining for the long-term, understanding system of connections and relationships, and starting  from a broad based deeply rooted in the crust of the planet. Both Aldo and Arne lived in primitive shacks to connect more deeply to nature, and my friend Arne’s was located high in the Norwegian mountains. He even named his philosopher after it, Ecosophy T (Tvergastein). I have travelled the world to be inspired spiritually by mountains. The accompanying images show one from the coast of Norwegian when I traveled by boat up beyond the Arctic Circle and one in Nepal where Buddhist prayer flags decorated the peak at 17000 feet.  For me the conversation between land (mountains) and water (clouds, rivers, glaciers)  is the conversation between the masculine and the feminine in all of us. The rapes of mountains in West Virginia and around the world not only destroys land forms but also pollutes the associated water sheds.  For as short-term gain in energy we bankrupt future generations. We can live without mountains as some people do, but no one survives without water even for a few days. Hence it is Rachel Carson’s sense of wonder about the seas and other waters around us that teach us that the feminine metaphor that flowing water will always embrace and challenge the durability of mountains and even wear them down over time.

Go Cassie go! Gather and focus all the energies of the human spirit as manifest in dance-in-action.  Hike the horizontal and the verticals to create new stories to draw us into a healthier and more viable future. Through your actions and those of many others around the world we will slowly but surely change our relationship to the mountains that inspire us and the waters that sustain us.

Posted on: May 29th, 2012