“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A rendezvous...

We see each other just a few times a year... it's almost like an affair the way we will meet when I am here. Because, somehow every trip for training, I find at least a few hours to spend with her. It's purely a private thing as well - nothing I take anyone along for, or tell them about afterwards. Just she and I together for a brief visit. It started four years ago on my first trip here, and ever since we have shared our secret moments.

The mountain rises east of town - it's barely qualified as such compared to many I've seen, but still she dominates the skyline every sunrise, and serves as a point of reference. Given my lack of anything similar nearby though, she serves the purpose.

So, I'll load up a light pack, throw on some shoes and head up to explore her trails. They are oh so cunningly designed - no matter how you choose to explore, the final part returning to your start will be an uphill climb. There was a time in my younger, fitter days I would have relished the challenge of conquering these slopes - seeing how fast I could run up them, striving to beat the mountain into submission and mark it as my own. Imposing my dominance on the landscape as I sought to prove my superiority.

But that was long ago. These days it's much more of a partnership. I know the places I can push hard, I can read her slopes and valleys and judge my pace to match what she presents. Instead of taking my time from the brief visits, I choose to use these moments as a gift, a reminder of the peaks of my own home and people.

And in return she rewards me. A forgotten cistern lying off the trail. The day I turned a curve and was in the middle of a small herd of deer. The spot where a copperhead sunning on a rock regarded me today until we peacefully went our separate ways. For, by accepting her, by living in the moment instead of striving for a victory, the mountain has given me just the barest glimpse of her secrets. I've walked down a path I thought I knew and ended up an hour distant exploring unknown streams. I've glimpsed the bright colors of spring flowers hiding in the brown remnants of winter; and seen the signs of approaching harvest in fat squirrels which have no fear of men they rarely see.

What the mountain gets from my visits is hard to say. The modern man in me of course sees such thoughts as foolish... The Celt sees a romantic notion, a wild spirit empowered by a human who remembers a time when such things mattered. The Native side simply remembers the feeling of the heights in my blood, the simple acceptance of man's place in this great circle, neither greater nor lesser than the other creatures in these wilds. 

It's far too infrequent of a relationship to be called a love affair; rather, it's more of a reminder of something I miss and am not sure I will ever truly regain. The times of me freely wandering the mountains with no agenda or care have been supplanted by other priorities and needs. My life has gone in other directions, and it will be years before I live on such slopes again, or see them from my window as I awake.

But, it's still nice to visit her now and then; to be wrapped in her embrace for just a few hours and forget the past and the future for just a few hours of the present.


Old NFO said...

Well said Sir, and enjoy that private time!

Dori said...

If the mountains bring out this stunningly beautiful, haunting poetry then I'm willing to start packing up tomorrow.