High Country Weather by J.K. Baxter
Baxter created a commune in Jerusalem. He grew up in the hills and valleys of Dunedin. He loved nature and sought to separate himself from the rat-race of modern living. He was deeply religious and saw a witness in Creation to God’s design. Creation to him is long lasting. Humans are small and have short lives in comparison. Message
This short, 8 lined, 2 stanza poem seems to be saying, Instead of stressing out in life seeking worldly possessions, look up to the sky and beautiful mountains and get the right perspective on life.
We can see this because…
“Alone we are born…And die alone;” This suggests that our lives are short. The beginning and end happen closely together, so life is brief. This line sounds like an allusion to a biblical phrase. Since our lives are so short, it is ridiculous to strive unceasingly after worldly possessions. You come with nothing into the world, and you leave without them too. Others get your stuff instead. What is the point in running around in this world working like mad to get things when you just get stressed and can’t keep it anyway?
“Yet see the red-gold cirrus…Over snow-mountain shine.” There is a contrast between our short and pathetic lives and the majesty of the creation. The cloud in sunrise or sunset has a beautiful colour that takes the breath away. The snow covered mountains are not only beautiful, but remain forever. They are unmoveable. They will be here long after we are gone. Stop from your frantic endeavours and look up. Get a new perspective on the world.
Life is portrayed as an “upland road.” Literally this depicts a road going uphill or mountain, but it metaphorically represents the road of life and the passage we take. Baxter seems to be giving fatherly advice to the young when he says, “Ride easy, stranger:” The image is one of someone riding a horse up the upland road, but again it metaphorically represents the journey along the upland road of life....
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