Yesterday’s hike revealed crashing waterfalls. Okay, not like Niagara, but nonetheless wonderful flows charging down the boulders. As I neared the mountain, or better said, as I left houses and neighborhoods behind–we’re all on the mountain after all–I spotted several happy rivulets flowing near the trail, and sometimes across the trail. I followed the largest towards the enormous boulders that hug Mt. Elden. The noise grew louder, and it was wonderfully cacophonous when I arrived and stood within the boulder cave and below the water that, from my vantage point, appeared to be falling from heaven.
We are in the dead of winter, hate that phrase, the heart of winter I prefer, yet, snow has been scarce. Just enough moisture and cold to create a bit of ice and these water flows. The earth resembles the verge of spring, but it is a trick, I bet. More winter will pounce upon us, like a mountain lion onto a cliff. Soft, strong, distinct.
A lovely and magic result of this boulder spout is its ability to change art, or to make art from destruction. Graffiti too often adorns this scape. When scrawled across train cars, it just doesn’t irk me. But spray-painted words, especially, “fuck me,” across the boulders on our mountain, brings out the mountain lion in me. I want to scream. Mountain showed me silence.
The mountain takes care of herself. When the mountain turned on its January spigot, it let loose upon the defaced boulders and made a mark of its own. The mountain melted away, erased, that which it didn’t need or like. Re-created itself.
Mountains of mud, stone, sticky leaf
little brown mounds she built in the back yard
determined to mimic what she saw in the east.
“My mountains, Mama, with trails for hiking,” she told me,
as she drew a line across the dirt with her finger.
“I’ll buy oranges and you carry the water. Okay, Mama?”
Mountains no higher than her pudgy, scabbed knees
decorated our home, the periphery
a fortress she could conquer, a row of hills
she stomped and smashed, giggled and rebuilt.
Gathering grass and dried marigolds
remnants from my leftover garden
she created a personal version of a world
that was simply so much taller than her.
Her neck strained looking up at me,
the front door, the bathroom sink, the bowl
of fruit on the counter, so high, telephone poles,
trees and her mountains
in the east.