There is something to be said for staying close, for loving the trees and canyons that are most available. Some seek only high peaks and broad views, but when I have the urge to be alone, to listen to birds until the sun sets and stare into a fire long past dark, it’s all the same. The sound of the creek is the sound of all creeks, the noise of rain in the canopy, dripping, drumming on my tent fly is no different than anywhere else. Often what we’re looking for is right beneath us- don’t be fooled into thinking you have to travel far and wide to find it; that’s the advertisers and adventure magazines talking.
It seems to be a matter of macro vs. micro. I can stare off at the land from a peak high in the Sierra and be awed and overwhelmed by the sight, a big picture revealed before me. But then there are the small places, places close to home, the nooks and bends amongst fern and oak, tiny streams harboring tiny animals and tiny views. I can assure you; the silence at night is the same.
I keep returning to my favorite spot, my refuge for poetry and nights of reflection. Alone seems best these days. I’m getting to know it, now anxious to feel the rhythms of all the seasons and years unfolding. I heard a new bird on this trip, yet to be identified, calling out in the night between breaks in the rain. Owing to the “terrible” weather, I didn’t see another person. Perfection.
And the rain! We get so little of it here, it’s become an imperative that I get into it whenever I can. I sat by the fire with a poncho draped over myself and my chair, umbrella overhead, hours sitting like this, managing to simultaneously enjoy both the water and the flames. The beauty of the wood stove; the rain couldn’t stop the sheltered fire. The beauty of my new chair; keeping my butt out of the mud. I can’t help but feel I’ve increasingly got it figured out, at least how to find a little piece of what I’m looking for.
Pages upon pages…I managed to coax out one poem that might be worth sharing:
The bones of a mule deer
decay beside a fallen oak
as our ancestors
are turned to ash.
trees, and giants
Death strolls indifferently
through this world.