“Into this one mountain Nature gathered her choicest treasures, to draw her lovers into close and confiding communion.” – John Muir
Fans of John Muir clearly understand that his love of nature stirred every fiber of his being. For him, nature was not only a pathway to the universe, but also a pathway of enrichment for personal and interpersonal communion and spiritual growth.In the sphere of human biology, there are countless millions of examples of making love and only one involves the genre of sexual reproduction. And, while a huge amount of time and treasure are spent pursuing carnal love, pursuing the platonic virtues of compassion, tolerance, forgiveness and soul-nurturing are profoundly important.
Corey Rich’s glorious photo celebrates life at so many levels (pun intended). If love is a verb then that is exactly what these young people are up to. Whether climbing partners, siblings, lovers or soul-mates, these two must have made a verbal (or tacit) pledge to love, honor and support each other (if necessary) “until death do them part.” The simple fact is that they needed each other for this monumental moment to occur. She needed him to carry out his part and he needed her to do her part. It should not be surprising to look at this photo as a metaphor for marriage; total mutual commitment is required on the journey to higher physical, mental and spiritual ground. The payoff is views and experiences that neither could experience without the other.
I don’t k now if she is reading, The Wilderness World of John Muir, but I am certain Muir would rejoice to see the latest climbing equipment and females joining in the celebration.
I don’t know if any couples have been married on the face of El Capitan, but I do know that Shawn Reeder recorded a wedding on a Half Dome ledge.
Also, several years ago, a soon-to-be bride and groom, best man, maid-of-honor, able-bodied family, friends and pastor all made the 10-mile trek from Yosemite Valley to the top of half Dome for a wedding celebration. No word if champagne and gorp were served to guests after the wedding vows were exchanged.
While researching this post, I found Reverend Carol Dewey who lives near Yosemite in the town of Mariposa, Ca. http://www.weddingsinyosemite.com/. I chatted with her and found out that she officiates at weddings throughout Yosemite and even did two weddings on top of Half Dome last year.
John Muir would have rejoiced in all of this as he considered Half Dome as the High Altar appropriately situated at the east end of his Yosemite Cathedral. Truly a prophet, Muir predicted that Yosemite would become a favorite place where lovers would be drawn “into close and confiding communion.”
The eminent anthropologist/humanitarian Loren Eiseley fully appreciated this concept by suggesting that he was less concerned about man conquering nature than about nature, in the form of God, conquering the human heart. When this happens, he asserts, men lack vision and inspiration and cease to be fully-functional human beings.