It must be wonderful to live near a mountain (or on it) – the fresh air coming off of it in the morning, the peaks in the distance which always remind you of a possible higher order of the universe, and the seemingly easy escape into nature. I’m adding to my list of my favourite mystical mountains (which include among others Austria’s Untersberg and China’s Huang Shan) California’s Mount Tamalpais, as described by Alan Watts:
Though not much more than twenty-five hundred feet high, Mount Tamalpais rises almost directly from sea level, and thus looks bigger than it is… Seen in the first light of dawn, even the radar domes of the air force which now crown the western summit look like the domes of a mosque, and the whole mass of hills, valleys and canyons with their forests, groves, meadows, and giant rocks confers an atmosphere of strange beneficence.
Extraordinary people live upon it. Occasionally you may come across an order of Western yamabushi or Buddhist mountain-monks, with their rattling pilgrim staffs and conch-shell trumpets. There are a few true hermits, on the northern slopes, which are its most lonely and untraveled parts. … There are two importers of the rarest forms of incense from Asia. There is a psychiatrist who lives all year in a tent and uses astronomy to cure his patients by letting them see their problems from the perspective of the galaxy. … There are also mountain lions, bobcats, and deer galore, and wild goats and eagles and vultures and raccoons and rattlesnakes and gophers and two cats, named Sol and Shakti, who go for walks with people like dogs, and who respond to commands given in fake declamatory Japanese.