A vast pyramid of talus and scree in the Sierra Nevada range, it sits between the aptly named Wonder Lakes Basin and Mount Emerson, a namesake of the great 19th-century author Ralph Waldo Emerson. It might seem only fitting that it should bear the name of Emerson’s close friend and fellow transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau.
But the mountain cannot be named for Thoreau or anyone else. Since 1964, the government has decreed that except in extraordinary circumstances, unnamed features in federal wilderness areas will remain that way.
Now a group of 11 writers, printmakers, poets, wilderness enthusiasts, Thoreau devotees and fellow travelers is trying to correct what they say is a historic oversight. On Sept. 26, they made the trek to the summit of the unnamed mountain for a minor act of civil disobedience: a ceremony to name it for Thoreau. (1)
We like naming things.
We believe we can be immortals only if our name survives our death.
But our actions live eternally.
Our life always Is where we Are.
Seek grandeur in anonymity.
Seek eternity in the ephemeral of the moment.
Because this moment will always be there with you in it.
Let the rocks be.
Thoreau will Be as well.
His silence powerful.
As a flower.
As a rock.
And everything at the same time…