Fiery Autumn Woods

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Thomas Merton at his hermitage, 1968

144 years ago,  Autumn train trip

For more than a hundred miles [from Toronto to Ottawa], the railroad passes through beautiful woods, which often catch on fire….

…Took the rail to Montreal, after a splendid day, the atmosphere so pure, the skies so lofty, and of such a magnificent colour. The sunrises, sunsets, and moonlights are most beautiful.

William Bliss, Glimpses of American Life and Scenery: Sketched in Letters and Diary of a Tour in the United States and Canada, During the Summer and Autumn of 1872.

[This William Bliss was a wealthy English industrialist.]

 

48 years ago, Autumn plane trip

Big black mouths of the jet engines open in silver fog. We bounce high over the Chugach [Mountains] lifting out of Anchorage.

We come up into the sunlight, possibly over Cordova. “We have brought the magic wave with us. It cleansed everything”—Hermann Hesse, Journey to the East.

The sky finally opened when we were over British Columbia and all its islands and on the way down into Seattle we flew over at least six big forest fires and a lot of small ones that were nearly out. But the big ones were by no means out and now south of Seattle the whole lower sky is red-brimmed with the smoke of big distant fires. Volcanoes stand up out of it. Mt hood, etc. No connection at Seattle so we we stay on this plane, and it will stop at San Francisco.

Thomas Merton, Journals, Oct 2, 1968

Image result for thomas merton alaska

The cover is a photo by Merton from his airplane seat, flying over Alaska, October, 1968.

^ ^ ^ ^   ~ ~ ~ ^^^

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