Good Mountain Morning

“We would hit the trail at two AM., summiting the nearest peak, Mount Tallac, just before sunrise, the clear, starry night reflected in the flat, still lakes spread below us.  Snuggled together in sleeping bags at the peak, nearly ten thousand feet up, we weathered frigid blasts of wind with coffee someone had been thoughtful enough to bring.  And then we would sit and watch as the first hint of sunlight, a light tinge of day blue, would leak out of the eastern horizon, slowly erasing the stars.  The day sky would spread wide and high, until the first ray of the sun made an appearance.  The morning commuters began to animate the distant South Lake Tahoe roads.  But craning your head back, you could see the day’s blue darken halfway across the sky, and to the west, the night remained yet unconquered – pitch black, stars in full glimmer, the full moon still pinned in the sky. To the east, the full light of day beamed toward you; to the west, night reigned with no hint of surrender.  No philosopher can explain the sublime better than this, standing between day and night.  It was as if this were the moment God said, “Let there be light!”  You could not help but feel your speckle existence against the immensity of the mountain, the earth, the universe, and yet still feel your own two feet on the talus, reaffirming your presence amid the grandeur.” – Paul Kalinithi, When Breath Becomes Air

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