I spread the map out on the ground. The minutes of sunlight were ticking away faster than my mind could process the questions running back and forth across my brain. I sat back on my heels and momentarily closed my eyes, hoping to settle my soul enough to think clearly. In the darkness of my mind those questions fought one another until one won out.
How did I get lost?
Frustrated tears stung my eyes until I opened them to let the wetness out. Through blurred vision I stared at my map. It was frayed from opening and closing it so many times. Dark smudges of mud patched the hand drawn landscape from the many times I had fallen and muddied my hands before checking and rechecking the directions. I reached out and fingered a rip in the right corner where it had caught my sweatshirt pocket when I pulled it out for the thousandth time.
I was trying to follow the directions.
I had More >
I stood on my porch in the afternoon heat. Mountain warmth is momentary. Mornings are downright cold, for the mountains scold the sun into rising later in the morning. Early in the evening they take up the discipline again and send it away before it wants to go. The heat sneaks in only during the afternoon hours.
Soon the sun would drop over the jagged tree line and I would need a sweater. I stared at Mt. Shasta, not really bothered that the warmth was only teasing me. I have grown used to its submission to the mountains. The year of my refuge has grown old. The grasses are dry and the flowers are waning. The ground is long dry and Summer death is snatching up the life Spring gave so freely. Even the evening and morning temperatures do not slow the process. The leaves on the scrub oaks are turning from green to crinkly brown. They top the trees as I look down the mountain More >
I stared at my phone while I battled the hurt in my chest. I pushed my finger across the screen and turned it off, set it down and stared at the sky. The moon had gone into hiding and the Milky Way had come out to play. Silver dust sprinkled the black sky around bright but tiny white spots of light. I bit my lower lip and chastised myself.
I had done it again.
I went inside and poured some iced tea. Summer nights are cool on the mountain, but tea is still the right thing to drink. I set the glass on the edge of the railing and grabbed the wood on either side. My lip was starting to hurt. I released it but gripped the wood harder in exchange. I clenched my jaw and and shook my head slightly back and forth.
I knew better.
The knot in my stomach tightened and I felt my chin involuntarily quiver. I did not want it to hurt. I just wanted it to go away. I pried my own hand from More >
The sun had not yet shown itself. In the predawn, the heat had given way to a moment of relief, mercifully sending a soft breeze to cool my tired body and sooth my struggling spirit.
I stood alone.
Limp, empty hands hung at my side. My chin lowered and my eyes searching the gorund, I tried to understand the want of tears. I am happy in my life. Why was my belly churning and my chest aching? What did I have to cry about? My life is not perfect…but it is good. The things I did not understand sometimes poked at me, but I should not be hurting…I should be grateful.
I took a troubled breath and bit my lower lip. Then I clenched my jaw. The ache grew as I lifted my head and looked around.
The grass had begun to brown in the summer heat but the trees were still lively green. It was early in the warm season. Soon the leaves would grow dark in an effort to survive the More >
I love that ‘its spring but at any moment summer is going to attack’ feeling.
I opened every door and window in my house, even though it took forever to get them all. This gift of a home is full of clear panes that let the glory indoors. As each glass slid back or up or open, I was again accosted with the beauty of this mountain refuge. The trees have all budded out and lime green leaves collect among the evergreen needles, dotting them with light reflecting effervescence. I think the trees know what they do for my soul. It is as though they wait for me to head for the deck and when I do, they all let out a fragrant breath so I can suck in their smell.
I thought about saying ‘thank you’ as I sat on my way-too-much-of-a-deck, computer in my lap and iced tea at my side. Instead, I closed my eyes and let the warmth move from my lungs to my heart. I love it here. Adore it really. More >