Buku The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd

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The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd

Author:Nan Shepherd [Nan Shepherd]

Language: eng

Format: epub

ISBN: 9781847675958

Publisher: Canongate Books

Published: 2009-06-10T16:00:00+00:00

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The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd

SEVEN

Life: The Plants

I have written of inanimate things, rock and water, frost and sun; and it might seem as though this were not a living world. But I have wanted to come to the living things through the forces that create them, for the mountain is one and indivisible, and rock, soil, water and air are no more integral to it than what grows from the soil and breathes the air. All are aspects of one entity, the living mountain. The disintegrating rock, the nurturing rain, the quickening sun, the seed, the root, the bird—all are one. Eagle and alpine veronica are part of the mountain’s wholeness. Saxifrage—the ‘rock-breaker’—in some of its loveliest forms, Stellaris, that stars with its single blossoms the high rocky corrie burns, and Azoides, that clusters like soft sunshine in their lower reaches, cannot live apart from the mountain. As well expect the eyelid to function if cut from the eye.

 

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The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd

Author:Nan Shepherd [Nan Shepherd] , Date: June 11, 2019

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Author:Nan Shepherd [Nan Shepherd]

Language: eng

Format: epub

ISBN: 9781847675958

Publisher: Canongate Books

Published: 2009-06-10T16:00:00+00:00
SEVEN

Life: The Plants

I have written of inanimate things, rock and water, frost and sun; and it might seem as though this were not a living world. But I have wanted to come to the living things through the forces that create them, for the mountain is one and indivisible, and rock, soil, water and air are no more integral to it than what grows from the soil and breathes the air. All are aspects of one entity, the living mountain. The disintegrating rock, the nurturing rain, the quickening sun, the seed, the root, the bird—all are one. Eagle and alpine veronica are part of the mountain’s wholeness. Saxifrage—the ‘rock-breaker’—in some of its loveliest forms, Stellaris, that stars with its single blossoms the high rocky corrie burns, and Azoides, that clusters like soft sunshine in their lower reaches, cannot live apart from the mountain. As well expect the eyelid to function if cut from the eye.

Yet in the terrible blasting winds on the plateau one marvels that life can exist at all. It is not high, as height goes. Plants live far above 4000 feet. But here there is no shelter-or only such shelter as is afforded where the threads of water run in their wide sloping channels towards the edge of the cliffs. Whatever grows, grows in exposure to the whole vast reach of the air. From Iceland, from Norway, from America, from the Pyrenees, the winds tear over it. And on its own undulating surface no rocks, or deep ravines, provide a quiet place for growth. Yet the botanist with whom I sometimes walk tells me that well over twenty species of plant grow there—many more, if each variety of moss, lichen and algae is counted. He has made me a list of them, and I can count them. Life, it seems, won’t be warned off.

The tenacity of life can be seen not only on the tops but on lower shoulders where the heather has been burnt. Long before the heather itself (whose power to survive fire as well as frost, wind, and all natural inclemencies is well known) shows the least sign of life from the roots beneath its charred sticks, or has sprouted anew from seed hidden in the ground, birdsfoot trefoil, tormentil, blaeberry, the tiny genista, alpine lady’s mantle, are thrusting up vigorous shoots. These mountain flowers look inexpressibly delicate; their stems are slender, their blossoms fragile; but burrow a little in the soil, and roots of a timeless endurance are found. Squat or stringy, like lumps of dead wood or bits of sinew, they conserve beneath the soil the vital energy of the plant. Even when all the upper growth is stripped—burned or frosted or withered away—these knots of life are everywhere. There is no time nor season when the mountain is not alive with them. Or if the root has perished, living seeds are in the soil, ready to begin the cycle of life afresh. Nowhere more than here is life proved invincible. Everything is against it, but it pays no heed.

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