Ice Friday: Stegner’s “Angle of Repose”

Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose,  a chronicle of frontierswoman Mary Hallock Foote, offers reflections on how life unfolds:

Time hung unchanging or with no more visible change than a slow reddening of a poison oak leaves, an imperceptible darkening of the golden hills. It dripped like a slow percolation through limestone, so slow that she forgot it between drops. Nevertheless, every drop, indistinguishable from every other, left a little deposit of sensation, experience, feeling. IMG_4482Familiar and unfamiliar swam and blended into a strangeness like dreaming as she saw Howie’s face out of her girlhood against the mountainside of her present life. A wash of confused feelings went over her like wind across a sweating skin, for the identity that Howie took for granted and talked to and reflected back at her was not the identity it used to be, not the one that had signed all her past drawings, not the one she knew herself. That what was it now? She didn’t know.

The Great Divide

The mountains of the Great Divide are not, as everyone knows, born treeless, though we always think of them as above the timberline with the eternal snows on their heads. 20140804_095338They wade up through the ancient forests and plunge into canyons tangled up with watercourses and pause in little gem-like valleys and march attended by loud winds across high plateaus, but all such incidents of the lower world they leave behind them when they begin to strip for the skies: like the Holy Ones of old, they go up alone and barren of all circumstance to meet their transfiguration. (Angle of Repose, 254)