Driving the streets of San Francisco in the morning, I see fleeting fragments of the Golden Gate Bridge pass in and out of view between buildings and the leaves of low-hanging trees. Shrouded in fog, the bridge is like a spectre, continually appearing and disappearing beyond the city.
Mount Rainier is a similar ghost, overhanging Tacoma like a mirage, its white crown hidden between shadowy clouds that trap sunlight and don’t let it go. Walking up Commencement Path from the library to a class in Wyatt Hall, a hood pulled over my head, I catch glimpses of the mountain between the ivy cords that cover the façade of Jones Hall and between the lachrymose clouds that cling to the bluing hills in the distance. The ghost of Rainier is as evanescent as my breath, materializing and dematerializing in the cold air. My breath passes away.
At a clearing on Todd Field, where Mount Rainier is visible between Commencement Hall and Regester Hall, several students stand with cell phones in their hands, desperately trying to capture images of the ghost between drops of rain. Others stand and only watch, knowing that a ghost is not a ghost if you take a picture of it.
As I climb the stairs of Wyatt Hall, I peer out of the east-facing windows and watch fragments of Mount Rainier pass me by.