A Day with the Mountain

“Bridge washed out. Do not cross.”Caution tape.We find bridge planks held fast forty feet downstream. We cross the shallow ribbon.

Heart Sutra. Japanese is hard to chant.

Ferns crinkled, red, and wet. Those two walking uphill in front of me, they weigh down the corners of this fragile existence of mine. One takes steps of a mountaineer—stodgy, persistent. The other of a dancer—delicate, energetic.

Air’s clear climbing into the meadows. Black ferns. Ocean like a dream state on our periphery. Tradition, we are creating tradition.

Two deer on a morning jaunt give us the trail. They were the original trail makers.

Tic-tac of bay and oaks toppled in the gully. It will be wet humus soon enough.

Emerge from the trees to the headland and hear a roar. The ocean’s been accompanying us all along, we just couldn’t hear it.

Strands of sunlight mark the channel to the bay. This place felt too tame, so I pushed it away. Pulling back now, seeing the wildness which was always there.

Clouds rise, enclosing us in rich, wet air fumigating the sinuses. Live oaks feel the fog. Lost path. Found path. We disappear; sight is removed. We move on the greatest of our senses—intuition.

Wind rise, we meet the storm. Creek filling, we stop and listen.

Lunch, rifle camp. Two teenagers in t-shirts and a sheriff’s truck. Odd coincidence.

North side trail. Rain finds us. Ponchos on. One old green man with brown locks and the cutest face is saving newts.

Manzanita mangle has become a creek. A jet engine of moisture meets us at the top. No one’s there though it is a Monday afternoon. Who’s the saner?

Yellow hobbit joins us. Down, down, this is the hardest on the mountaineer’s stiff joints.

Into the deep groves. Darkness buckles. We dissolve into owl hoot, puddle splash, sounding out the space with our own voices. Does something want us down here? Eeewachu. Dark as it gets. Car. Dry. Another day with the mountain.

For beautiful photos and words on the practice of circumambulating Mt. Tamalpais and mountains around the world my friend Nick Triolo has much to offer here: https://jasminedialogues.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/in-photo-the-circumambulation-of-mount-tamalpais/

 

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