The problem with words is that they are so limiting. How can one describe a misty rain just tickling skin, beading on clothes, caught in hair? How can one write a sentence that captures the depths of the pain and joy that one feels when seeing a loved one after an absence? Hell, how is one expected to capture in words the stress and frustration of traffic? The exultation of a well executed joke on The Big Bang Theory? The problem with words is that they fail us in the extraordinary as well as the mundane.
Driving along California Route 140 into Yosemite National Park, my words begin to fail me. When looking at the road before me or perhaps a quick glance at the deep green of the trees whizzing past, I am fine, and perfectly able to describe my experience. But it only takes a look up to the sheer and immense stone that form the walls of the valley to simply remove my powers of description. I am struck immobile, dumb; unable to truly process the immensity of the landscape. And while the stark walls in contrast with a misty white waterfall and muteddeep green trees is impressive, it is something much more that gives me pause.
There is, inherent in the carved stone, falling water, and enormous rock piles, a power that is beyond my comprehension It is the Merced River that carved the valley. It is a waterfall that is molding the rock face. It is tons of granite cascading down a sheer face and following only two rules: what must move, will move; what must stop this, must be more powerful. And there is me, so small against the backdrop as to almost linger out of existence. I am perhaps lighting a camp stove or taking a photo, and am not more than a momentary flash of life in a cycle that expands out and beyond what I am able to comprehend.
So I am left with this pitiful post and these photos. It’s a shame that with all that we as humans have been able to accomplish, our words continuously leave us lacking.
More photos of Yosemite and Northern California can be found here.