Some old writing….
I found these on a hard drive earlier, memories restored, I like them.
Park, lace up, strap the headlamp on, and hike in.
Keys stashed in a tree; ready to fly through the dark.
Echo Mountain waits above, 2,000 feet of climbing, a good hill to stoke the fire.
Dancing through the rocky sections, climbing, climbing, the city lights falling away into clouds and drizzle.
Silence now; the cloud and fog smothering sound. Crickets alive, a chirping horde, just them and my breathing.
The occasional rustle in the bush.
Is it her, the mountain lion, watching from above?
Do I look like a wounded animal or a warrior?
At the summit, harder rain.
The weather has completely covered the city, no lights, no sound not a trace.
The way it was, the way it will be again.
It’ll always win, no need to worry.
It’s got the time to wait us out.
Panting, I let loose with three of my best howls;
all hail the Dreamtime
Awakening to the sound of raindrops on my tarp, I feel a small amount of spray wetting my head. Cursing the tree root that was poking me in the ribs all night, I sit up as far as I can and begin to wiggle myself out of the bivy, straining my neck to look at the sky. A glance at my watch says it’s just after 5 AM. A low growl of thunder rolls through a canyon beyond. My entire world is shrouded in thick fog, rain coming steadily. Surely there is snow and ice forming in the higher reaches of the peaks. My stomach knots slightly thinking about the weather and the tasks that lay ahead.
I chose to be here, alone, doing this? It was one of those moments of doubt that can be part of trips in the mountains. It was a small dose of fear, a realization that the day would bring hard work, cold, and the real possibility of trouble. Not trouble in a civilized sense, not trouble as mere nuisance. No. This is a different kind of trouble; possibly getting thoroughly wet and hypothermic, caught in an electrical storm on a ridge, or taking a fall off something high and jagged. I’m talking about real trouble, the kind that can, on occasion, cause people not to return. How many of us get to experience this feeling anymore? I’m not sure many people ever want to. So many of us have it so good that I’m afraid we’re losing our edge. But we were built for trouble.
I know because I am here writing this, because I made it over the ridge that morning. I put my head to the wind and ice, hands frozen, and I kept going when I could have turned back, trudged upward when fear was telling me to go down. I went into the mountains alone when I could have stayed home. Despite terribly blistered feet and a fatigue so deep it hurt, I made it. Looking back, it was even enjoyable. Today I can only remember vast, beautiful horizons, crisp wind in my face, and the colors of the sunset when the storm began to break that evening. I don’t remember the discomfort, at least not in a way that would prevent me from going again.
Every year new plans are hatched for the next journey, the next climb, another goal. I keep going back, trying to push harder and further each time. It seems to be what I’m supposed to do.
In the West
In the West
I sit atop a boulder
and eat an orange.
(this was actually part of a larger poem, but I like it on its own better).