The Divine Coming of the Light

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The Divine Coming of the Light is a memoir-in-essays that covers an experience, from 2007 to 2010, when I lived in Kosuge Village (population 900), nestled in the mountains of central Japan. I was the only foreigner there. My memoir uses these three years as a frame to investigate how landscape affects identity. The book profiles who I was before Japan (an evangelical and then wilderness guide), why I became obsessed with mountains, and the fall-out from mountain obsession to a humanistic outlook. The path my narrator takes is one of a mountain hike. I was born in tabletop-flat West … continued below

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iv, 237 pages

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Peters, Clinton Crockett May 2018.

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  • Peters, Clinton Crockett

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Description

The Divine Coming of the Light is a memoir-in-essays that covers an experience, from 2007 to 2010, when I lived in Kosuge Village (population 900), nestled in the mountains of central Japan. I was the only foreigner there. My memoir uses these three years as a frame to investigate how landscape affects identity. The book profiles who I was before Japan (an evangelical and then wilderness guide), why I became obsessed with mountains, and the fall-out from mountain obsession to a humanistic outlook. The path my narrator takes is one of a mountain hike. I was born in tabletop-flat West Texas to conservative, Christian parents in the second most Republican county by votes in America. At 19, I made my first backpacking trip to the San Juan Mountains of western Colorado and was awed by their outer-planetary-like massiveness. However, two friends and I became lost in the wilderness for three days without cell phones. During this time, an obsession possessed me as we found our way back through the peaks to safety, a realization that I could die out there, yes, but amid previously unknown splendor. I developed an addiction to mountains that weakened my religious faith. Like the Romantic poets before me, God transferred from the sky to the immense landscape. I jettisoned my beliefs and became an outdoor wilderness instructor. On every peak I traveled up, I hoped to recreate that first conversion experience when I was lost in the woods. After college, while teaching English in Kosuge Village, I learned about the mountain-worshipping religion Shugendo: a mixture of Buddhism, Shintoism, and Shamanism. I climbed dozens of peaks, spending several days backpacking. However, while in Japan, I was nearly fatally injured on a solo, month-long hike. I saw the accident as a warning and turned my attention to studying writing and literature. When I came to Japan, I went up mountains, but as I left, I came down. The book profiles my experiences with mountains and my double disillusionment, leveling off with a humanistic outlook, leaving the narrator less a wanderer but more willing to empathize with other people.

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iv, 237 pages

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  • May 2018

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  • June 6, 2018, 1:19 p.m.

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  • March 9, 2021, 9:32 a.m.

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Peters, Clinton Crockett. The Divine Coming of the Light, dissertation, May 2018; Denton, Texas. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1157628/: accessed July 27, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .

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