Ah, the mountain. By now most of you have likely seen hundreds of pictures of it on the blog and on the blog’s Facebook page. And, of course, by “the mountain” I mean Truchas Peaks, the stunning three-point edifice I see every morning at sunrise and at the close of each and every day. This is what I wrote about it in a January 2011 post (see previous post Ode to the Peaks): “I see, from my land, from my windows, Truchas Peaks. They form the basis from which I live. They ground me. And they inspire me to soar. They soothe in times of trouble and leave me awestruck always. It is a privilege to live at their root. Every time of day or year, every season, they change. And yet they are the constant in my life here. They generously give their grace and energy, no matter what mood I may bring… Sometimes I feel my friendship with the mountain is my primary relationship here—the reason I am.”
Even so, until very recently, I had not explored the mountain itself. It was a friend I held at a distance, one with which I was not willing to be intimate. Why? Perhaps because she (and I do see her as feminine) has been too important to me and I didn’t want to risk spoiling that—didn’t want to get to know her so well that something could be lost. Or maybe it was simple fear—the fear of entering a vast unknown. But now, for whatever reason, the time is right and I am allowing myself a closer—a much closer—look at this powerful force in my life.
Kim and I (see previous post A Very Mini Artist’s Colony) drove out to take the mountain road as far as we could the other day and what a great journey that was. Minutes from my land, the mountain has been there all this time since my arrival, waiting. And I am finally ready. We drove to a point and then got out and walked. We came to the man-made waterfall I’d heard about and Kim had visited before. It’s water that had been diverted centuries ago to feed the acequia system (see previous post The First Flooded Fields of Spring) in the village and, still, it looked like the work had been done a month ago. It takes Mother Earth a long time to repair mans’ scars.
We walked and then came back to the car and drove and walked some more, seeking the timberline, the ridge line, the landmarks in her bowl we see from my land. But, although it was beautiful and an enjoyable way to spend a day, the mountain did not reveal herself to us. She would not share her quiet secrets. She seemed to be saying that to know her would take time. And that is time I will be happy to spend.
I have friends who know her well, who grew up with her and who live on her. They are generously willing to gently introduce me. My new friend, Mary, wants to plan a hike up to the REAL waterfall, the natural falls. She described a trail head that was Greek to me, off on some outcropping she knows well. We’ll take off from there and walk 4 miles up the mountain’s sides and this piece will be revealed; a bit of knowing I will prize forever. And my friend, Jessie, is taking me on horseback next season (we’ve left it too long for this year—it’s getting wintery up there in the higher elevations), over a pass and into a mountain meadow studded with grasses and a lake, high up on her shoulders, where the ancients used to live. We’ll camp there and wake to the sun rising over the mountain FROM the mountain, a perspective I never dreamed I’d live to see.
So little by little my relationship with the mountain will deepen; I will come to know her. We will have touched each other in ways only we can do, the two of us in our own sets of combinations. And I will have made a mark on this geologic force, I will have left a trace, because she will have made a mark on me, in my heart and on my soul. And that can never happen without it being recorded somewhere, somehow, for all time.
Love to you all,