There is no earthly domain so near the divine as the unsullied land at the very doorstep of the gods: the mountaintop wastes and wilds. Peopled only by their “lesser” children — the ants and pikas, ravens and goats, lichens and heaths — this rugged landscape is a realm of brutal dimensions, yet so cherished that its soaring pinnacles are first and last kissed by the Sun itself each day. Emulating this reflected glory, human mortals may mount their conquering quests, yet merely ascend — and depart — on peril of Icarian wings. They are too tender, too frail to endure the savage beauty of these lofty climes. They may but foray into this formidable frontier and quickly withdraw to gentler abodes. It is here, among the creatures persisting at the very edge of terrestrial life, where the arduous meets the sublime, that the true nature of the cosmos is revealed. Behold, O ye who venture hither: the height of man and floor of heaven!

© 2024 Anthony Colburn