The Superior Mirage of Mount Hood

Posted on January 15, 2015

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Today I discovered why mountains sometimes look bigger:

Looking at Mount Hood,
you are a standing
y-axis on the ground
with great distance
on the x, between you two.

11,250 feet above
its base, its icy spike
chills the atmosphere.
The air is dense, with
compressed layers.

Look up and imagine
where that peak would
tower above your head.
But where there’s no peak,
there is, instead, heat.

It’s warmer above you
than at Mount Hood.
Air particles rise higher
and the layers start
to peel apart.

The white peak’s image
sails to you, refracted
across these layers,
growing in the rising sheets,
magnifying the mountain.

And you stand in the sun
in wonder as Hood
appears closer, a superior
mirage approaching you
On clearer Northwest days.

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Posted in: science, writing