Mountain Peaks

by Ivan M. Granger

Original Language English

Why is it among the most
glacial mountain peaks
I find
the greatest warmth?

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/ Photo by Sean Buchan/MacKinnon Photography /

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

It's been a few months since I last featured one of my own poems. So I thought I'd slip one in today.

I was once asked in an email what this poem is about. Here's my response:

It's always a little tricky to try to explain a poem, especially a short one that's so compact. But that doesn't usually stop me from trying... The most important thing is the feeling you get reading it, even if it's not very clear, and even if your response to the poem is different from my own intention. So hold onto your own reaction, regardless of what I say.

There are two important levels to me in the poem. I have lived up in the mountains or near the mountains much of my life, and on one level I am simply talking about my love of the mountains. They feel like home even though the weather is cold and the air is thin. The environment can feel austere, even a bit bleak when the winter snows blanket everything and make a world of white. There something so... rich to me about an entire world brought to its pure essentials.

But, on another level, I'm talking about spiritual states. In meditation, or deep wordless prayer, the mind can grow so still that not only do all thoughts cease, but even the subtle movements of awareness grow still. And then, like that glacial mountaintop, the world comes into such peaceful clarity. The strange thing is that in that cool, aloof state, a bubbling warmth and sense of life begins to rise and permeate the body and you grow giddy, wanting to smile or even laugh out loud. You expect such stillness to be frozen, almost lifeless, but you discover a blissful vitality and warmth instead.

Mountain Peaks