As I stand there watching the horizon, in deep awe of one of nature’s myriad canvases, a blanket of deep clam draws over me. I am on top of the mountain having driven all my way up in narrow winding roads from the salt pan below, panoramic views of which were the main attraction from atop this mountain.
Dante’s view they named it, way back in the 1900s when a traveling company was trying to locate the best view in Death Valley. There was a race to offer tourists the best view of Death Valley in order to promote tourism, and one of the goals was to find a view point from which one could see the highest and the lowest points of the Death Valley Park. After having almost lost out to a nearby place, about the same elevation as this, I think the name sits justly upon it.
Dante’s view sits atop the black mountains sitting right across the Panamint Range and the Telescope Peak. That’s as much of the geography of the place I am going to delve into.
We have arrived there just in time to view the sunset, to see the sun bow down from his duty gracefully, whle leaving the skies for the moon to take over and dazzle with all its might on borrowed light. We are a night away from the full moon. The celestial medley sweetens as one can see the sinking sun and the rising moon across each other in the skies. The stars are here but only the brightest dare to burn and reveal themselves against the might of the sun, even if sinking. This resembles more of a celestial showdown, the more the sun shines, the brighter the moon appears. I guess the sun realizes it is time and continues on its journey to the other end of the world.
As it sinks deeper into the womb of the mountains across, the crimson brightens and darkens, now highlighting the rim of the Panamint Range. The resulting scenery is divine, a silhouette of the ranges slowly emerge. The air gets cooler by the minute and the wind catches pace. I look around me, I see solemn, peaceful faces; the kind this experience begets, although one must be careful to not imprison their experience with the shackles of expectations. Nature best be observed as is, without any hues of previous experiences or other people’s lenses. That makes me wonder if the words that I am writing right here and now are just a feeble attempt to live up to the expectations of the perception of my style of writing. I hope not
I decide to walk up on of the nearby trails, the culmination of which is a very place little higher than where I stand right now. As I inch use upward I see a glimpse of the sun again. Did I manage to reverse time? If not, what is this view a function of, I wearily ponder. The answer, like other answers, evades my prejudiced thoughts. What would I not give away, in my limited material possessions, to experience a pure, untouched thought run through my mind?
I return back to the viewing gallery, night has slowly taking over. I look at Panamint Range in front of me, getting engulfed in the throes of darkness and a sudden thought hits me. How resilient is Nature! It has patiently devoured many a civilizations spanning genres of species, spread over billions of years! And here we are, Homo sapiens sapiens, with our devious and perverted intelligence and an obvious lust for destruction trying to think that we are invincible! From where I am looking right now, I am not sure which side will win? It is worrisome for certain, but we must realize that we cannot be without all that comprises nature.
We begin our descent, dutifully polluting the air with our technological prowess, while nature does its duty in soaking it all up. I look around me again, trying to soak of the magic that this view is and feel reassured. I feel hopeful, that she will prevail.
For the sake of our progeny I hope I am right.