The View from the Edge

Looking over the edge of the cliff above Fourth Recess from the 12,700 foot ridge west of Mono Pass. The lake is c. 1,700 feet below.

When I come to the edge of a cliff there’s an emotional rush. The mountainside at my feet falls away into thin air. What was solid rock in front of me is no longer there. In its place is hundreds or thousands of feet of space. What I see beyond is far, far below. There’s a sense of power and energy around me. I sense the energy of the air around and below me–vibrating molecules of nitrogen and oxygen. I sense the potential energy stored up in these rocks–it will turn into kinetic energy when they eventually fall, bounding down the cliff like living animals free at last. I’m aware of my own potential energy stored up here–which I do not intend to turn kinetic. I’m aware of my own fragility and of the privilege of standing in this special place.

It reminds me of the unfathomable energy bound up in the earth and the atmosphere, some of which is unleashed when the wind blows, the thunder rolls, and the rocks of the cliffs inevitably fall.

I’m blessed and empowered to live  and breathe in such a world of energy, beauty and wonder–and, even more, to be part of it! It’s a humbling privilege, and given to me in spite of all my faults and past mistakes.


About David McCoard

After earning my MS in geology I've done various things including managing the ski touring program at a small lodge in the Sierra. In 2010 I retired from Contra Costa College in California. I've always been fascinated by the mountains and nature and have spent countless days hiking, backpacking, climbing and skiing in the Sierra. The spiritual insights I've learned there have set the course for my life. Now I have time to share them and strike up a conversation.
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