Beauty abounding

I may declare that I see no wonder in this shrubbery equal to seeing myself in it. Although Jane Austin’s Mary Crawford meant something entirely different by it, her observation accurately expresses the sentiment Joanna felt while we took in this view of Piz Nier. The mountain rises above the small town of Bivio, located in the Swiss canton of Graubünden, and is boarded by Austria and Germany to the north, and by Italy to the south. Although we had been to Switzerland before, this was our first sojourn in winter. We drove from Lausanne, skirting the cities of Bern and Zürich, and arrived after dark. Neither Joanna nor I ski and so the next morning our traveling companions took to the slopes while we hiked Piz Turba. Joanna marveled at the scenery while I obsessed about arriving at the spot at which we had planned to rendezvous with the rest of our party. We hiked the same slope the next day and, having safely negotiated the first ascent, I enjoyed the second day’s adventure much more. The going was steep and we stopped at intervals to rest and to photograph our surroundings. Such pauses gave Joanna the chance to take it in and she was right that the very fact that we were hiking in such a beautiful place was more wondrous than the natural beauty around us. Although we have experienced the hills of Pennsylvania, the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Green Mountains of Vermont, and although we had looked at these Alps from the comfort of a commercial jetliner, nothing had prepared us for walking in this place. Unlike Joanna, who moves head-up and eyes-forward, I tend to train my eyes down to focus on the ground in the immediate vicinity of my feet. No matter where she is, Joanna breathes in her surroundings. She listens to the birds, looks for growing things, and quickly becomes lost in the beauty which she observes. In contrast, I concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. This time, however, as we walked among the mountains, I had to agree that I saw no wonder equal to seeing myself among them.

POSTSCRIPT: My good friend, Maurice, at
Duck? Starfish? But … 23?, reminds me that the formation shown above is known as a lenticular cloud. Thanks Maurice. D

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