Mowich Lake, Mount Rainier, Washington.
Wind and water. That is the literal translation of the Chinese science of Feng shui, which seeks to bind humanity with it’s surroundings. The idea incorporates positive and negative polarity (yin and yang) as well as the five elements (wood, water, fire, metal and earth). The practice channels the energy, the life force of a place, known as Qi (pronounced chee), to place architecture in the most auspicious direction and orientation. In a sense it is an alignment between what you build and how you live with the universe, positioning your structure with water, land forms, even compass points and constellations. My more immediate universe changes daily though, and tonight I am here in a glacial bowl on the northwest flank of Rainier. Rainier is huge, easily seen 70 miles away in Seattle. It is so massive that weather gets backed up in its directional flow, accounting for many of the moods of the mountain, from serene and welcoming to angry and deadly. I am not the architect whose hand made the little bump of land before me; this is Rainier’s feng shui. Maybe it’s a push of magma, or one piece of puzzle from continental uplift millennia ago, but it was the hand of the mountain itself that placed this little island, and you can still feel the Qi. It is one of countless perfect designs of this place, if your eyes are open to them. This one is aligned eastward, spring-like and appropriate to Rainier’s green season, and pointing to the constellation of Scorpius, coincidentally my astrological sign. There are times I have to escape every day life, with all it’s yin and yang, letting my thoughts either breathe or rest. If I wasn’t looking for harmony, I have found it anyways, and tonight, I will sit and contemplate the wind and water.