“The dawn wind in the High Sierra is not just a passage of cool air through forest conifers, but within the labyrinth of human consciousness becomes a stirring of some world-magic of most delicate persuasion. The grand lift of the Tetons is more than a mechanistic fold and faulting of the earth’s crust; it becomes a primal gesture of the earth beneath a greater sky. And on the ancient Acadian coast an even more ancient Atlantic surge dissipates the granite headlands with more than the slow, crumbling erosion of the sea. Here are forces familiar with the aeons of creation, and with the aeons of the ending of the world.”
Ansel Adams: The Meaning of the National Parks, 1950
There is a key clause in Adams’ lyrical observation: it is only “within the labyrinth of human consciousness” that the vast sweep of natural beauty takes on the meaning he observes. Without human consciousness, the stirring of world-magic is lost – the dawn wind in the High Sierra is merely a passage of cool air through forest conifers; the grand lift of the Tetons is only a mechanistic fold and faulting of the earth’s crust.
The Ansel Adams Gallery features over 75 of his works, beautifully displayed in a minimalist setting at The Wilderness Society in the Sumner School office building, first floor, 1615 M Street NW, Washington, DC. It is well worth the visit, and will take up perhaps an hour of your time. Unfortunately, it is only open Monday through Thursday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and Friday 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. At all other times, to include weekends and all federal holidays, it is closed, bereft of human consciousness.