The Sublime: Yellowstone — Day 4

The word sublime is commonly used to describe how outstanding something is. You might hear someone say, “This chocolate mousse is sublime,” or “What a sublime symphony!” However, the sublime is a concept developed by several 18th century philosophers. I remember learning about it first when we read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in Mrs. Longhenry’s high school English class. That was a long time ago, so the specifics are a bit fuzzy in my brain, but what stuck with me was the idea that the sublime entails a mixture of beauty and horror; it is the juxtaposition and intermingling of the grotesque and the awe-inspiring.

What better way to describe Yellowstone?

Nature is often described as sublime, both in the modern sense and the philosophical sense, but Yellowstone is more sublime than most places I’ve seen. There are few landscapes as horrific and grotesque and apocalyptic as those in Yellowstone, yet they are also magnificent and  transcendent and breathtaking. Nearly everywhere you turn there is a beautiful, babbling brook of scorching, steaming death. Rainbow pools emit noxious gases. Lifeless, toppled trees litter otherwise tranquil landscapes. Sublime.

Firehole Falls

Baby birdies

Amber waves of grain and turquoise waves of doom.

Hunting

I call this one “Mike: On the Edge”

The Grand Prismatic Spring

Comments
One Response to “The Sublime: Yellowstone — Day 4”
  1. I enjoy the website and the writing skills :).
    Loved the one about Landmannalaugar :D.

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