Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rage Against the Dying of the Light? Maybe not...

"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Dylan Thomas

Thomas was writing about death, of course, and not sunsets. Going gently into the night is one of the finest moments one can have in Yosemite Valley. It had been a beautiful day, and now it was ending. 
We headed up to Tunnel View for the "classic" view of the valley, with El Capitan and the Cathedral Rocks. Half Dome is usually visible from here, but not in the clouds of the passing storm (below). The clouds drifted teasingly across the face of the monolith.
The valley had been in shadow for awhile, so the cold fresh snow was causing mist to rise off the meadows below. It was kind of eerie but also beautiful...
We thought we had seen the last of the light, so we looped back into the valley to catch Highway 140 to Merced and home. As we passed Valley View, we realized we needed one more stop...the mist rising off the meadow wrapped the cliffs and forest in a ghostly shadow.
Death is permanent. But the dying of the afternoon light and the passage into night promises a new morning and renewal. I recalled John Muir's words:
“The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls. ”
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