Magnetic Beauty

“Life is given only once,

and one wants to live it boldly,

with full conscious

and beauty.”

— Anton Chekhov

“Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one’s sensations.” — Paul Cezanne

• Inspired if not by Cezanne but by the mountains themselves, I decided to see what I could capture with my paintbrush instead of camera.

“I reach toward the shining mountains, beyond the fog of daily worries.” — Jonathan Lockwood Hule

• We were so fortunate to find the mountain peaks bathed fully in sun and blue sky. There was hardly even a wind.

“The splendor of silence—of snow-jeweled hills and of ice.” — Ingram Crockett

• Peeking out through a frame of ice, you could see little but more and more of the same glorious perfection.

“Although I deeply love oceans, deserts and other wild landscapes, it is only mountains that beckon me with that sort of painful magnetic pull to walk deeper and deeper into their beauty. They keep me continuously wanting to know more, feel more, see more.” — Victoria Erickson

• The juxtaposition of softness and jagged ruggedness paints its own story.

“Ice contains no future, just the past, sealed away. As if they’re alive, everything in the world is sealed up inside, clear and distinct. Ice can preserve all kinds of things that way—cleanly, clearly. That’s the essence of ice, the role it plays.” — Haruki Murakami

• Known as the longest and largest glacier in France, the Mer de Glace or “Sea of Ice” gains ice from snowfields that cover the heights directly north of Mont Blanc. Once easily visible from Chamonix, it is shrinking backwards and is now barely visible from below. In the past three decades alone, it has retreated nearly 2,500 ft. and tourists must walk down some 400 steps to reach it, a number that increases every year.

“There is nothing quite like climbing to the top of the Alps and looking down upon the earth. Everything in the world suddenly makes sense.” — Unknown Author

• Looking down over the start of the Mer De Glace, down to the now tiny town of Chamonix nestled in the valley from where we began our ascent, we fully grasp the enormity of the peak on which we stand.

*   *   *

Mountains watercolor painting by Mary O’Connor; Frame of Ice and Mer De Glace photos by Jan Logozzo; Mountain peaks, Ruggedness and View of Chamonix photos by Mary O’Connor

© 2019

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