A Song for the Mountains

The high Sierra peaks east of where I grew up are covered with snow year-round. To a boy admiring them from the valley floor, they look just a few feet apart, instead of the miles they really are � as if he can step from one peak to the next on his way across the sweet blue sky.

But you have to be going somewhere to know. If you aren�t going anywhere, if you are content scientifically, philosophically, or religiously to be where you are, the mountains seem as far-off and insurmountable as someone else�s dream.

To see them in their true glory is to understand the suffering they endure. As a madman tends his forge, the earth buckles, heaves, and groans. Fire licks the granite face until it is cooled by night and the ice of stars.

You need to know you are going if you are to be who you are. You need to feel the motion. You need to stand at the forge. There is an old saying, not yet written. It speaks of that which was: You have been and ever will be, until the end of that which is.

Life is strange. I might never see those mountains again. Or I might be lost in them one day, an old man summoned by the voice of childhood, commanded by the elements to return. May the old man be given wings. May his days be remembered, then dispersed.

September 10, 2006

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