The Wisdom of a MountainRead Now
Add to that, working with the inherent judgments that arise for those not wearing masks and those not even attempting to honor social distancing, taking time to implore store management to require masks for all patrons, and taking time to catch up on news. By the time I returned home, I was exhausted, stressed and discouraged. The virus was now acting in differing ways, there was the growing conflict with those that wanted to open up the economy and those that felt it was too risky, and the ongoing saga of mishandled leadership as the administration continued to stumble along.
All this was a perfect storm for feeling hopeless, sad and depressed. And I did. I got home and cried in the shower--the shower that now needed to follow a trip into town just to be sure every chance of the virus' survival is washed away.
The more I climbed, the more it felt like the High Sierras where fewer and fewer live trees survived in the stark and difficult terrain. When I made it to the top, it was as I suspected and as I had seen from the road far below, the crown of the mountain was a convex bowl of large charred toothpicks, save the few cell towers and human made apparatus’ that supported their operation.
As I roamed from one barren peak to the next, it felt like a Sci Fi movie where I had landed on a dead planet and longingly searched for life. At the second cell tower station, I climbed on the tallest rock formation to capture a panorama photo and just down the hill, toward the first station, I noticed some green. Sure enough, as I looked more closely, it was one large standing green conifer. A tree survived??! Wow! In the midst of all the surrounding death. That would definitely be where I created the altar.
I scrambled across the land to discover not one, but some six trees standing with the very tops of their crowns green. Would they survive? Well, it had been over four years and here they were.
Bits of an ode surfaced in my mind. These trees are now the elders of the mountain—well for the top of the mountain, anyway. They will be the ones that repopulate their kind over the generations to come.
Just how long had it been since the fire, I thought? Siri calculated it and it was exactly 1,700 days prior. I didn’t want to come the day before or the day after, no, my intuition said today. Today.
I placed the meditating dog, hair and ashes at the base of the tallest and strongest looking tree and wrote this homage in my travel journal:
May 8, 2020
Exactly 1,700 days ago the Valley Fire of 2015 decimated this forest.
Some six conifers remain near the top and have become the elders of this part of the forest.
They are charged with helping to repopulate the forest and look over it’s well being for generations to come.
To these trees:
May you be healthy and strong and may all your offspring and their offspring be healthy and strong, and so on.
This altar is in honor of your relatives—those that have passed and those that will come.
Thank you for your dignity, wisdom and life giving to all the creatures of the forest.
With deep regards,
Then, aside the tree I settled in and meditated on the mountain, as the mountain, for the mountain.
The wisdom from the mountain? Yes, despots and empires rise and fall. Humans will do terribly small and reprehensible things to each others. Pandemics will come and go. Economies will crash. And....a billion-and-one acts of kindness will result from such things, such as the surviving trees offering their body as a home to the birds, ants, and more after a devastating fire takes virtually all of her relatives.
And the mountain remains, bearing witness to it all. Holding it all. Steady, stable, grounded and rooted deeply into the earth.
What wisdom do you find in mountains?
5/17/2020 10:48:23 am
Hi Love, that was very nice, except, I don't think you should take a hike like that alone.. I am not one for hiking, but it does sound like it would be a very rewarding hike.. I am one for sitting out on my deck, and looking at the Beautiful trees in my neighbors yard.. and of course trying to tell God that I do need help.. Talk about having a bad week, like the virus isn't enough... Sat. the 9th. Laurie tripped and fell, getting ready for Michelle's baby shower.. Broke her shoulder and her arm.. went in for Surgery Friday, all went well.. Pat had surgery on Wed. the 13, all is fine with him.. and Jim had to have his dog, that he has had for 15 years, put down.. He had cancer surgery a couple of months ago, and never really got well.. So, did I have a bad week? You bet I did, and if it wasn't for You, trying to teach me to relax, I probable wouldn't have gotten any sleep.. So I do Thank you.... All is better.. not really good, but better... In todays paper, Grandmas House on Wilson St. is up for sale again.. asking $765,ooo. and to think we sold it for $80,000.. Take Care and Please, stay well....
5/24/2020 01:33:48 pm
Oh, Auntie Carol, that is quite the week! I'm sorry to hear about Laurie and I'm glad Pat's surgery went well. Please give Jim my condolences--losing my canine companion of 15 years was one of the biggest losses I've had, so I completely understand! I'm glad you were able to use some mindfulness practices to help with sleep this week. I have you in my heart all the time.
5/17/2020 12:13:19 pm
It almost feels like I was there with you. Thank you for all that you give and all that you are.
5/24/2020 01:35:27 pm
Thank you Claire. I'm glad it could touch you--I'm always wondering if what I write can get through--it makes sense in my mind, but I wonder how it gets translated through the writing!
5/20/2020 08:18:37 pm
Thank you for this. You are such a great writer.
5/24/2020 01:37:50 pm
Thank you, Nicki. I appreciate hearing that.
5/20/2020 09:52:19 pm
Those contrasting photos are amazing! I could see them framed at the MAC.
5/24/2020 01:39:57 pm
I was really surprised when I came upon that tree--I recognized it so clearly! Good idea about maybe displaying them at the MAC sometime.
5/24/2020 01:30:40 pm
I was deeply moved when I read your story of “The Wisdom of a Mountain”. I love how you listened to your intuition, (which is nature guiding us along), to hike that particular day. Obviously nature had a message for you. A deep and personal message only for you.
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