Monday, March 11, 2013

The Mountain

The mountain’s face is just the face it shows me. The side I see. It plays at getting bigger and then smaller again, depending on where I am. Sometimes I drive from Cove Road down Grandview Road to Burnt Mountain Road just so I can see the mountain rise up over me. A gentle ancestor, a season. It’s never the same twice and yet there’s a stubborn consistency about the textures of its winds and shadows. The light loves to turn colors I’ve never seen before as it passes across the forested spire. I make up names for these colors sometimes. Thornblue, roselaurel, greyling. Earlyglow. Threshold. Silverhaunt. Pantherdark. Woodsmoke. Skywild. The mountain often seems to mandate silence, or at least suggest it, sternly but with what I think of as love. Mircea Eliade wrote, “In several traditions the Cosmos is shaped like a mountain whose peak touches heaven; above, where the heavens and the earth are reunited, is the center of the world. This cosmic mountain may be identified with a real mountain, or it can be mythic, but it is always placed at the center of the world.” For me this cord is genetic, I think sometimes, and I wonder if my mother and grandparents, and others, felt this visceral sense of kinship with the mountain. I listen to the music of the mountain as I drive past it and it calms me. The music shifts but it always shares a soul with itself. The songlines, I thought once, driving along into the rise of the road one day in late December, watching the mountain get bigger as I got closer. It often does that in winter. I have thought that it should be the other way round, that the mountain’s bareness should make it seem smaller, but the bones of its slopes rise up into a shared space with the revelation of treetrunks in the small light of a January afternoon in a way that enlarges the mountain’s presence. Years ago, reading Joyce, I ran across the word “omphalos” and, looking it up, realized that the mountain carries that cord of energy for me. It is a portal, a thin place, a threshold, a liminal space where sky and earth come together and promise me that everything here---sky, earth, hawk, tree, coyote, rock, bear, creekwater, pinecone, bobcat---is my relative. That the tapestry of ancestors is not linear but curved and always present, always speaking to me in the silent shapes and shadows of wind and cloud across the cove as night comes on. 

©Laura Sorrells 2013
all rights reserved


  1. a threshold or a liminal place. i understand. the other day on a run in the country in the first rain of spring i stopped to watch a chickadee alongside the road. i felt ***!!!??? i can't quite say. i noted how he was the size of a heart, perhaps not the SIZE of a heart, but was a heart living in the branches. the size of a rodent too. somehow his animation was simply life itself. i felt myself there in him and i felt him inside me. i didn't know any difference, other than location, and even that i wasn't sure of. it was one of those moments.

    i thank god for the natural world. without it i would be mad. with it, i only seem mad, but am whole.


  2. I like your names for colors, the winter colors at sunset are intense...

  3. Erin, yes yes. exactly I don't know how people live who don't let their hearts travel with the natural world. your story of the chickadee reminds me of Julian of Norwich's beholding of the hazelnut and of Blake's grain of sand. there's a world in a leaf and another in a mountain and they're related, intimately so.
    sage, thank you...

  4. It’s really a nice and useful piece of information. Thanks for the share.
    Stone Split Face


Search This Blog


About Me

My photo
Georgia, United States
I live at the edge of the forest in a little town in the north Georgia mountains. I teach sixth grade Language Arts and am writing a memoir of sorts about family, spirituality, and narrative. I am also exploring a possible writing project having to do with contemporary lay contemplative experience and how it might be informed by the Desert Fathers and Mothers of early Christianity. I am a relatively recent convert to Roman Catholicism and an admirer of Pope Francis, Leonardo Boff, Joan Chittister, and Richard Rohr. I'm a Lay Associate of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, Georgia. I am interested in indigenous cultures, narratives, and spirituality, especially how these can inform my spirituality as a lay contemplative. I write, read, take pictures, play around with creating ephemera from paper and cloth and other organic things. I cook, hike, watch wildlife, and collect random bits of interesting oddness, both tangible and abstract. I am a seer of smallness and a caretaker of ridiculous minutiae. If you want, e-mail me at or