“It’s easy to be blind to the all the treasures we hold / Get up to the mountains, I get up high / And I take a look around before it all passes by”
…perched-awed-humbled-ancient rocks-stable-pieces shining-some red, some black…
Boulders, stacked one on the other like pieces of a puzzle, jut out over a cliff. We reach the edge and don’t look too far over the edge, as we hover like our fly friends, high in the clouds. We hover, not daring to think too far ahead. Also like our fly friends, we can choose to live our lives in three-day intervals, every few days moving to a new location either as travelers or those who grow in our minds every single day. This is an exciting way to live: not stagnant, always striving to gain new ideas and perspectives. Each Monday can be a new life, just beginning, and every adventure births us again, a new chance. Insects get reborn weekly as they maximize their life-span: gain after gain after gain, pleasure after pleasure. There are no thoughts of the past, only the shining future.
Not often is the broccoli given the chance to reach its true purpose: to flower and seed. Only when we give it freedom to soar towards the sun, can it reach its full potential. Flower buds (that we know so well) erupt into beautiful yellow flowers, cheery and offering themselves to their pollinator friends. Seed pods grow out of the middle of each flower. They break open in a gesture of joy and spill themselves on dark earth, hoping for a second chance. We do this every time we travel: giving ourselves a second chance to be alive to the world, to shed our anxieties and insecurities, to leave them on the road and climb into the forest, naked and reborn. Climbing a mountain always allows us to see more mountains.
We sit here on the top and look at all the great peaks laid before us: Mt. Hood, Black Butte, Mt. Jefferson, Three-Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington, South Sister, Middle Sister, North Sister, Broken Top, Bald Butte, Mt. Bachelor, Diamond Peak. Each has a personage- a name and a story- rooted in the land and the people living around its base. Each of them is revered for its permanence and lore. They rise out of the Earth, tall Gods, touching the clouds- white snow on white clouds. They kiss the sky with their gratitude that they were given the chance to erupt out of the hard, hard ground. They greet the sky with a simple exchange: “Hello. I think I’ll stay here awhile. Thank you for letting me embrace you.”
So how it goes, year after year. They stay. Showing their faces to the Sun in gratitude. Every summer when she makes her return, she strips them of their winter coats and they breathe a sigh of relief to feel the wind whipping at their naked bodies once again. They feel no shame as the weight of winter melts away into pure, clear water. In those months, they shake themselves awake, reborn, becoming greener and greener the more the sun shines. The height of summer brings about glacial lakes, crystal clear and cold, deep as the footprints of a giant’s first step. The lakes are tear drops, splashed here and there with the passage of each creek. Tears of joy.
We sit here on the top of a great peak, in the middle of a ring of history, at one time maybe even a ring of fire, exploding lava in spitting anger. As we perch on the ridge, we can see we are part of one continuous lava flow that drapes over this peak like a dusty brown-red cape. We contemplate the solidness below us which was once molten. But bit by bit, it cooled to support forests, which somehow rooted themselves in loose scrim of soil. In those spring melts, dots of rock flow down with the glacial melt, drop by drop, water and rock rolling over each other. And in the spring melts, dormant seeds from the past finally reach their potential. Seed to shoot to stem to leaf to wildflower.
We sit here at the top, with all the mountains within reach, and stretch our our arms in welcome.
“Hello, I think I’ll stay here awhile.” And we sit.