mounting intension

BenLuiThey ask after the intentionality of the mountain; if a mountain can have intention.

Intention. pa. ppl. stem of L. intendere extend, direct, intend, promote, F. in- In- (into, in, within; on, upon; towards, against) + tendere stretch.

The simplicity of the question ignores the complexity of the mountain. In a sense a mountain is a human construct. Pictured here is Ben Lui in the Scottish Highlands. Or Beinn Laoigh. Or the hill of the calf. Appellation names, identifies and separates for human minds but yet, already the mountain moves; eludes. The Picturesque frame of the photograph isolates Ben Lui (from Glen Cononish) from its wider surrounding landscape. Although a flat backdrop the mountain has a bulk. On the Ordnance Surveys maps the appellative is most often pasted in close to the mountain’s summit. Many a Munro-bagger may concur that it is all about the summit yet they would equally agree that there is much mountain to climb before the all important pile of stones or trig point is reached.

I run west from Tyndrum Lower Station and as I round the corner through the forest I first glimpse Ben Lui at the head of Glen Cononish. Downhill to the main track up the glen and the mountain absorbs attention, its bulk almost incomprehensible. The eau de nil barns of Cononish farm punctuate the middle distance. The two-mile run along the track sees the mountain apparently pulling itself into a steeper pitch with each approaching step. By the time I reach the Allt an Rund the mountain almost occupies my whole view. But am I on the mountain yet? Where does the mountain start? The mountain certainly (pre)occupies me.

The flora and fauna of the mountain is surely part of the mountain and the air that tickles its surface?

From here we are moving towards Nan Shepherd’s “total mountain”.

Have I become part of the mountain?

[notes unfinished]

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