Mount Shasta: Where Heaven and Earth Meet

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9780934747066: Mount Shasta: Where Heaven and Earth Meet

Towering 14,162 feet above far northern California, Mount Shasta is a landmark comparable to Japan's Mount Fujiyama. Home to California's largest glacier, it is one of the volcanos of the Cascade Range, part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire."

This book paints two pictures: a portrait of the many faces and moods of Mount Shasta and a "human mosaic" of writings by, interviews with and pictures of people who have many diverse perspectives on this magnificent mountain. Those who hold the book in their hands will see awesome storm clouds, rainbows and brilliant sunny days; they will hear from people whose words reflect precisely their own feelings about the mountain, and from people whose thoughts could not sound more alien.

The book introduces us to each other no matter how we approach the mountain. We hope it will foster a better understanding of the mountain and a kinship among those who know it as a special place, for whatever reasons.

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From the Author:

Mt. Shasta and the Conflict Surrounding It
Weekend Edition - Sunday (National Public Radio interview) 02/04/1996

LIANE HANSEN, Host - It is considered to be one of the world's seven sacred mountains. In 1994 it was designated an historic district. Mt. Shasta is a source of spiritual nourishment for many people, but, for others, it is a 14,162-foot pile of trouble.

Photographer Jane English and journalist Jenny Coyle have collaborated on a new book about Mt. Shasta, subtitled Where Heaven and Earth Meet. It contains 159 photographs of the mountain and offers 44 different views from people who live near, work on, or just love the mountain. For the past six years, Jane English published a calendar which featured her photographs of Mount Shasta. In the proposal for the book, she wrote this statement of purpose.

JANE ENGLISH, Photographer, 'Mt. Shasta - Where Heaven and Earth Meet' : [reading] 'The mountain is something all of us have in common, though our approaches to it, and our relationships with it, are many and diverse; hiking, downhill skiing, mountaineering, cross-country skiing, meditating, photographing, logging, communing with spiritual entities, promoting tourism and development, appreciating its beauty, studying its geology and history, and just being aware of its presence. But there is something about the mountain that also unifies us all. This something is not only the physical mountain of rock, snow, and trees, but also its inner reflection, or resonance, an in-most place within each of us that is best not named, because it is in the naming that our differences arise. If we can act from the sense of deep inner one-ness that our mountain reminds us of, then our differences, rather than being fragmented, conflicting interests, will shine as multiple facets of a single jewel.'

LIANE HANSEN - There is a reason for you to put this book together that is more than just something very nice to have on one's coffee table. Was one of the reasons for doing the book a chance to, and this is in the letter that you put to me, a chance to have these people tell their stories in a rather non-threatening way in hopes of resolving some of these conflicts?

JANE ENGLISH - Marge Apperson speaks to that in what she's written for the book about the politics, that the new people moving into the area seem to be threatening to the old-timers; the old-timers seem resistant to change. So we wanted to create a book where people could, in the privacy of their own living room, and without anyone watching them or judging them, really learn the way someone else thinks about the mountain in a really safe situation for them, without any conflict, and I think it's working towards that.

LIANE HANSEN - Have the participants read the book and what others had to say about the mountain?

JANE ENGLISH - Well, everybody who's in the book has the book for sure, and we've gotten a lot of feedback, first of all, on how beautiful the book is because of the photography. People, their first instinct, of course, is to pick it up and thumb through it, and, as people are reading it, I'm getting more feedback about the diversity that' s expressed. Some people have said, `I thought it would be one way or the other,' but, the fact is that it really pulls together a hugely diverse range of people and lets them have their say, rather than interpreting it really.

JENNY COYLE, Journalist, 'Mt. Shasta - Where Heaven and Earth Meet' : For instance, one of the people who's very much pro-development, he has his page, and one of the strongest environmentalists has her page, and they're really polar opposites, but they're both in the book.

LIANE HANSEN - There are so many different people here that it's awfully hard to choose which ones to talk about. I suppose it would be best to ask you if there is, first of all, a favorite individual of yours that occurs in this book?

JENNY COYLE - For me I would say Orvis Agee, the oldest man to climb the mountain, is someone that I enjoyed interviewing for the book, and I also climbed part-way up the mountain with him on one of the climbs where he didn't make the summit, but to have an 86-year-old man climb a 14,162-foot peak is an awesome thing. And he's the one that says I'm basically a bag of rubber bands- or bones held together with rubber bands. He is a wiry gun, but just a pistol. He was great to interview.

LIANE HANSEN - Now, Jane, there are many photographs in the book, most by you, although there are other photographers involved. I got the feeling going through the book that, I don't know how you do it, but you just have a camera set up outside and you say, `Oh, the mountain looks great,' run out and take a picture. There are so many different pictures of the mountain taken at different times, different seasons, different times of day, that it just seems as though you just want to keep a camera in one place all the time.

JANE ENGLISH - Well, the first few years that I lived in Mt. Shasta I did a lot of photographing, and actually, now that the book is complete, I find myself quite delighted to be able to look at the mountain and not feel impelled to go and pick up my camera, and to just let it be itself.

LIANE HANSEN - Jenny Coyle and Jane English, together they have produced the book Mt. Shasta - Where Heaven and Earth Meet, and the writings and photographs are edited by Jane English and Jenny Coyle. Jane English and Jenny Coyle joined us from the studios of KSOR in Ashland, Oregon. Thank you very much for being with us.

From the Back Cover:

Mount Shasta . . .
Embracing, yet austere --
Snowy and windy-wild --
Or basking its naked ridges
like old bones in the sun --

Skier's playground
Native American sacred place
Mountaineer's mecca
Timber faller's bread and butter
Hunter's challenge
Spiritual seeker's inspiration

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