We were in route to Yosemite National Park from Bishop, CA. We'd just left the Mountain Light photography gallery of the late adventure photography mentor I never met. His name was Galen Rowell.
Beholding his images as fine art on the walls of his small-town CA gallery was something I'd hoped to do since first reading his adventure photo articles in National Geographic as a boy. Our visit was, in a word, transformative.
My friend Nora (now my wife) and I had a particularly profound experience there in the presence of his art and the dialogue that followed. With a burning passion for all things wild and the inspiring art of photography alive in our hearts, it was no surprise when this scene unfolded before us on our drive north to Yosemite.
A solitary swirling cloud was struck by the suns last light in an expanse of blue sky. It hovered, and spiraled horizontally over the contour of the mountain. It changed shape and form by the second. The thoughts provoked by that night's spectacle were the inspiration for page 32-33 of Pilgrim Walk in the Woods entitled "Clouds."
"Despite all our talk about the sun rising and setting, it never moves. It never changes. By contrast, we humans move, shift, and realign constantly. We resemble clouds.
Clouds are the tool that God uses to reveal new facets of the sun. [You may choose to read—Son]. Clouds reveal the sun's many textures, shapes, and colors, and without clouds, sunsets are unremarkable. Notice how the darkest storm clouds transform when sunlight strikes them. They reveal explosions of color and light. We celebrate sunsets for their stunning beauty, yet our appreciation and knowledge of the sun's character draw strength from unglamorous helpers—clouds.
The abundance and texture of the clouds around us deepen our fascination with the sun. Look for them. Wait upon the sunlight to spread their paints across the deep azure."
~ from Pilgrim Walk in the Woods by Susanne Hassell and Paul Hassell