Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Alpine Americas

(From Alpine Americas Cover)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Still thinking about how people's world views shape their perception of reality.
CALLIOPE: Sounds involved.
JOE: Not really. For example, focusing on nature's wonders can affect how you deal with the world.
CALLIOPE: Show me how.
JOE: Okay, I'll share with you a review I did recently. Here goes:

Alpine Americas: An Odyssey Along the Crest of Two Continents by Don Mellor and Olaf Soot, Horizon Editions, 2008.

Recently I had the opportunity to review Alpine Americas. I have always been more fascinated by the sea than by mountains, that is until this book arrived. I was immediately drawn to the grandeur, hidden recesses and inhabitants of the mountains which the authors took years to document in photos and words, based on their exploration on foot and by air. I was glad to see the wonders of the Denali Range which I hope to visit some day. I was surprised to find glorious photos of hidden mountain recesses from Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego.

I had not imagined such wonders existed. Exotic photos of these mountains matched my favorite sunsets over the Pacific Ocean. Tearing myself away from the photos long enough to read the text proved a challenge. When I finally succeeded, I was rewarded by glimpses of the peoples inhabiting the various ranges and their ways of life. I enjoyed meeting the explorers who discovered, mapped and photographed these environs which remain mysterious to most of us. I also relished up-close meetings with the wildlife and domestic animals in these high places. High mountain ranges always seemed to me lonely, desolate places. The text makes clear that most of them are not easy to access. Once you do, either in person or through this wondrous volume, the trip is well worthwhile. I closed the last page captivated and humbled by nature's vast spectacle.

While many of us are prone in our day to day life to lose sight of all but our personal microcosm, Alpine Americas helps us maintain a healthy respect for the glory of our hemisphere and a spiritual context in which to view our own small lives. I would highly recommend this book to anyone needing a reminder of the breathtaking environment we take for granted.

JOE: Reading Alpine Americas brought me out of my preoccupation with the writing grind and gave me a larger perspective on life.
CALLIOPE: Thanks for sharing your review.
JOE: You're welcome. Talk with you tomorrow.

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