Nature Photography

Getting A Head in the Similkameen

Mountains have heads, faces, arms and shoulders. Here’s one of its heads. It’s not a human head, or an animal head at all, yet it’s a head, above Keremeos this morning in the Similkameen Valley.

Here’s another. It is also not a human head, but, even so, it’s different than the first.

And here are both of them together. One mountain with two heads!

It’s easy to think that they are named after people, who have heads, too, although quite different ones. They’re not. They are both heights, which is a head. We talk about this most everyday, too, in such phrases as “he rose up to his full height,” meaning not a measure of so many centimetres or inches but a body’s fullness. What makes mountains even more interesting is that a “mountain” is no more a thing than a head is. It is the piling up of material in mounds. This is the energy of one thing being on top of another, or coming to be so, which we know well by such phrases as “mounting a horse.” In this sense, a head is mounted on top of other mounds. It’s the height of mounting! In short, it’s like the mountain is wearing a hat.

And isn’t it? A hat is only a height, a head for a head! I think this stacking behaviour makes mountains of us all.

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