Friday Night in the Mountains
We had the dearest storm last evening. The thunder tumbled over itself to beat the lightning in a race to the ground, then a steady, soaking rain made the tomatoes glad they lived through the dry, hot weekend.*
I love beginnings. This one starts with a sunset.
The sunset did its best to last, but we had no hope of reaching the campsite in time to set up the tent with any help from the light. So instead of being useful, it settled for simply being beautiful. And that was just fine with me.
It let me remember what pulled me out here so many years ago.
We found Mr. Clowncar and family exactly twelve seconds before they gave up hope of seeing us that night. By now, all was pitch. When I opened the car door, I was momentarily disoriented by a rich, delicate smell – similar to lavender in its sweetness.
There is silence and then there is quiet, profound and ancient, married to darkness. Both filled the mountains that night.
And above us – stars. All of them, not just the ones the city lets pass through its orange dome. The Milky Way wound through the sky like Salome’s last veil.
Clowncar and Lil Peewee guided us from the car to the camp. The tent went up without incident. The boyos went down with a good deal of incident, each protest a blow to the brow of the quiet. They finally settled in, snuggling up on either side of their dad. Clowncar and I sat outside, passing a flask of bourbon back and forth; the insomniac and the night owl naming the stars, counting the falling ones and the complicated satellites, discussing chapters and writing and the contests that have let us down.
I lay in the tent and listened to the ravens bickering over the early morning rose light, and the high trill of hummingbirds too busy to arbitrate, eagerly going about their constant business of sustenance. And then I heard another bird with a joyous voice like a lost soul found. I cannot name it.
But I was greeted by this:
The view took me by surprise. Only the night can hide a mountain.
And then I identified the purfume that briefly stole me away the night before.
Wild sage. Everywhere.
Lil Peewee started breakfast, the kiddos clustered around the camp stove and we shooed them away again and again. She kindly loaned me a pot to cook eggs, as I managed to forget my own. We talked about birds and work and the little beings left in our care, and I was happy just to be there with her, a woman whom I admire and love. There aren’t as many as there should be.
After breakfast, the guys took the kiddos hiking while we cleaned up and prepared for a day of sun and music and river splashing.
And I’ll leave you with that, for now.
*That reminds me of something I saw in a dream last night; an hourglass, but instead of sand, it was filled with water.
What would we do without dreams?