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Spy Rock Henry van Dyke

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He rinsed his mouth again with water, and stood up, calling me to come on. The way, now tangled among the nameless peaks and ranges, bore steadily southward, rising all the time, in spite of many brief downward curves where a steep gorge must be crossed. Presently we came into a hard-wood forest, open and easy to travel. Breasting a long slope, we reached the summit of a broad, smoothly rounding ridge covered with a dense growth of stunted spruce. The trees rose above our heads, about twice the height of a man, and so thick that we could not see beyond them. But, from glimpses here and there, and from the purity and lightness of the air, I judged that we were on far higher ground than any we had yet traversed, the central comb, perhaps, of the mountain-system.

A few yards ahead of us, through the crowded trunks of the dwarf forest, I saw a gray mass, like the wall of a fortress, across our path. It was a vast rock, rising from the crest of the ridge, lifting its top above the sea of foliage. At its base there were heaps of shattered stones, and deep crevices almost like caves. One side of the rock was broken by a slanting gully.

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"Be careful," cried my companion, "there is a rattlers' den somewhere about here. The snakes are in their winter quarters now, almost dormant, but they can still strike if you tread on them. Step here! Give me your hand--use that point of rock--hold fast by this bush; it is firmly rooted--so! Here we are on Spy Rock! You have heard of it? I thought so. Other people have heard of it, and imagine that they have found it--five miles east of us--on a lower ridge. Others think it is a peak just back of Cro' Nest. All wrong! There is but one real Spy Rock--here! This earth holds no more perfect view-point. It is one of the rare places from which a man may see the kingdoms of the world and all the glory of them. Look!"

The prospect was indeed magnificent; it was strange what a vast enlargement of vision resulted from the slight elevation above the surrounding peaks. It was like being lifted up so that we could look over the walls. The horizon expanded as if by magic. The vast circumference of vision swept around us with a radius of a hundred miles. Mountain and meadow, forest and field, river and lake, hill and dale, village and farmland, far-off city and shimmering water--all lay open to our sight, and over all the westering sun wove a transparent robe of gem-like hues. Every feature of the landscape seemed alive, quivering, pulsating with conscious beauty. You could almost see the world breathe.

"Wonderful!" I cried. "Most wonderful! You have found a mount of vision."

"Ah," he answered, "you don't half see the wonder yet, you don't begin to appreciate it. Your eyes are new to it. You have not learned the power of far sight, the secret of Spy Rock. You are still shut in by the horizon."

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The Blue Flower
Henry van Dyke

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