The Maroon Bells

I discovered the Maroon Bells, as they’re called, only a couple of years ago.

Located near Aspen, Colorado, they remind me yet again of why ancient peoples often thought of mountains as the residence of the divine, and spoke of temples as “the mountain of the Lord.”

Unless one is truly a hardcore atheist, it’s difficult, I think, not to be aware of the numinous divine when contemplating such a landscape.  And even the most flinty secularist, I suspect, will often feel a sense of exaltation.

As Gerard Manley Hopkins put it,

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
  It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
  It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;       
  And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
  And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
  There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;       
And though the last lights off the black West went
  Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
  World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.


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