“The surface of the inner and outer landscape, of the above and the below, meet in the mountain body. The sense of place is confirmed in the mountain body. The spirit of place is confirmed when the mountain disappears into the landscape of the mind. Thus one reveres mountains."
- Joan Halifax, “The Fruitful Darkness”, Chapter 4: The Way of the Mountain.
While walking the plains, we can use the mountain on the horizon to set our physical bearings. From a distance, the mountain provides us with that sense of place; it contextualizes the land and the space around us. As we approach the mountain, the outer landscape begins to recede. The horizon falls as we climb, giving way to the mountain before us, and the sky around us appears to grow. There will come a moment in our ascent, when we look behind us and see the distance covered, and see the path, the land, and the earth as a single, seamless surface, as indeed, a cover over something. The mountain, like us, was once down there, below, below even that surface itself, something deep and hidden. And like us, the mountain climbed and rose up to touch the sky. And so the spirit of the mountain speaks to us as we climb, tells us its story, inspires us. The mind of the mountain knows our mind. When we climb the mountain, we climb into our own mind. Each step on the mountain reminds us that here, what was below is above, and what was inside is now outside, in the embrace of a sky now full-grown. And the summit of the mountain, like that our mind, disappears in the sky it sought to touch.