National Geographic : 1899 Nov
466 THE RATIONAL ELEMENT IN GEOGRAPHY to get steering way. Some day an artist will take a summer's outing on the Stikine* and with pencil and palette make its gla ciers famous. It is delightful to sit on the upper deck of one of the river steamers in the mellow light of evening and shoot down the swollen stream long after the sun has dipped behind the mountains. By 9 in the evening the untrodden peaks of the giant mountains are still a rosy red; at 10 o'clock, in an arrested riot ofjagged ridge and crest, they stand forth distinctly in line and color against the pink sky-line. Here and there long gran ite claws, picked clean by glaciers of a past age, run down into the lowlands and are lost there. But best to be observed are the glaciers of the present day. High upon the summits the everlasting snow gleams spotless in the fading light; lower down rise the jagged pinnacles and upheaved billows of the glacier itself, a study in blue; while below it and nourished by its waters lies the dark-green spruce forest fringing the banks of the rush ing river. By midnight detail and color are lost in dusky shadows, but the rose-colored light still lingers mayhap before the traveler's eyes as he realizes that he is speeding southward to home and to civilization. THE RATIONAL ELEMENT IN GEOGRAPHY By W .M. DAVIS, Professor of Physical Geographyin Harvard University Abundant conference and correspondence with teachers of all grades in recent years make it evident that the introduction of the " causal notion in geography," as McMurry has phrased it, is warmly welcomed wherever it is well understood. The tradi tional lists of capes are doubtless still memorized and recited in some schools, to the exclusion of examples involving explana tion and correlation as elements of geographical study; but such schools do not rouse the pride of progressive superintendents. Enterprising teachers are constantly striving toward a more ra tional treatment of geography, and with every advance in their own understanding of its problems empirical statements are re placed by reasonable explanations in their teaching, much to the advantage of the scholars. * In the January, 1899, number of THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE is an excellent description of the Stikine river by Miss E. R. Scidmore.