Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rumblings

You stand at her base, almost. It’s hard to know where exactly she starts – or ends, for that matter -- being always false first, summit after summit. Buttressed out, you think of her as Notre Dame, even though you’ve never actually seen the cathedral but for aged slides. (Why is it, anyway, that yellowed slides seems closer to reality than glossy feature spreads?) And you remember sitting atop her, being screamed at by a pika and seeing boy scouts on the next ridge practicing mirrored distress signals. You were relieved when you figured out it was only practice.

Because you had nothing to help, to offer. No rope. No crampons or pitons. Only Advil, and scissors, gauze and Ace bandages…the kind you played with as a kid, securing all the maladies of Siberian Husky and Fievel stuffed animals. You were alone that day, as you always were then – there, up top. You went as far away as you could without disappearing. Close to the edge, yet something brought you back. Maybe in the end it was the mountains themselves.
 
She rumbles -- a gigantic stomach, coming to eat you up. If she could move, you know she would. But those buttresses get in the way, tripping her up like a woman’s petticoat and hoop-skirt -- anchoring her down in the talus rubble of ages. And you understand, right then, why cultures have found their gods on high – you understand why they have sacrificed and been terrified and worshiped themselves into submission.
You understand why they have imposed sentience. Raising your eyes for a second, away from your line on the water, and rise forms beginning -- streaky white veils her with rain and for a few moments, she cannot see.

And you’re safe. 
 
And you find something up here too – an unknown something before which to stand in awe, and something that makes your stomach drop with the heat of fear – crawling over your back and up to the hairs at the base of your skull…the ones that always stay short and tangled.

You find something here -- even, to hate.

And only here do you find bits of truth -- treasured small polka dotted torpedoes she keeps hidden, like Gimli’s treasure hoard. Perhaps that’s why she’s so angry. But you put them back, the few you caught. And quickly, too, after you’d held their cold bodies, their beating heart. After you’d looked directly into their strange eyes and wondered what you looked like to them. Knowing that you weren’t nearly so beautiful to them as they to you…asking pardon for what you’ve just done.

The wind blows harder and harder until it rains. And the stomach still growls -- as if you’ve done something wrong, as if you’ve trespassed.

But you saw no signs, no warnings -- only, a moose in the willows. And maybe, that was it...    

54 comments:

  1. Oh my. This is a beautiful one, Erin. A turning, haunting thing that brings up my own memories. "You’d looked directly into their strange eyes and wondered what you looked like to them." When I'm contemplative, this is what I ask about each corner of the whole world.

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    1. Emily - That is what we should ask out of everyone...everything, eh? What do we look like to them. And that self analyzation is what brings realization. Many, many thanks for the words.

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  2. Emily picked the perfect word. Haunting.

    As always, a thoughtful piece, tugging at deep feelings, impossible for most of us to describe. Luckily, we have you.

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    1. Mike - Funny...a conversation about "ghosts" and their existence or not, is what brought about some of the thoughts here. So haunting...yes...perfect. Many thanks for always taking the time...

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  3. Nice Erin. Very nice.

    By the way, that pic of Banjo on your header is great!

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    1. Ty - Yeah! I took it last year on the way to a high lake. There was a squealing group of little girls coming down the trail...and he was desperate to not sit still. :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Erin, did you feel an earthquake up there? I'm assuming it's not an active volcano, don't think there are any in CO. I'm thinking of an account of someone I knew who was on St. Helen's flank when she blew, and left a tape recorded message. Perhaps I'm taking something literally when it was metaphor.
    Mike

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    1. Should Fish More (Mike) - No earthquakes, only thunder. However, I know there have been some quakes felt in CO in the recent past. I've actually never felt an earthquake -- even when I was living in SF. Had more than a few there, and I never felt them. Once, my roommate came screaming back into my room that we'd "just had a quake" and I hadn't felt a thing. Perhaps my balance is just always off. ;)

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    1. Alan,
      Ever many thanks...and a tip of my teacup to keeping on.

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  6. Simply wonderful reading. And for more than the remembrance of Fievel.
    :-)

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    1. Anthony - Right!? I loved him! And in a brief brain fritz, I remembered that. ;) Thanks so much for reading!

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    1. Phillip - That means a lot! And proves its worth. Many many thanks!

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  8. Beautiful lake. And mountain. No wonder you felt all of it belonged to her. Thanks, Erin.

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    1. Jim - It is gorgeous up there. And I'm relishing being able to be back up in the highcountry again. Even, with a bit of snow left. Thanks, as ever!

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  9. From a wet and windy England I was transported to a beautiful place, thanks for that Erin and wow! I'd love to meet a moose.

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    1. Dave - So glad I could bring you along! Indeed, I caught some of the footage of the Queen's Jubilee...and the weather looked none too happy. This is only the third moose I've seen here in Colorado...their numbers had dwindled, but they look as though they are making a good comeback. Amazing animals!

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  10. what an amazing post! I love it!

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  11. Beautiful post Erin and those mountains make a wonderful backdrop whilst fishing.

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    1. Mark - Many thanks for reading, as always! And the mountains are quite distracting from the fishing!

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  12. You had me at "you think of her as Notre Dame".

    Beautiful as always, Erin. :)

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    1. Master of Kung Fu - Ahh...and so glad I did. ;-) Many thanks for reading!

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  13. Such a powerful story. My goosebumps haven't subsided yet!

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    1. Hart - Thanks! And mine last awhile too...

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  14. A new commandment and you have made me break it all ready...

    Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours wilderness!

    Regular Rod

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    1. Regular Rod - Watch out for lightning strikes!

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  15. I loved the parts about eyes Erin. Always enjoy reading your posts.

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    1. Mr. P. - Always a pleasure to have you stop by, and best of luck with those mirrors this week!

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  16. Great bit...and you said you had nothing...what?

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    1. Jay - Well..it was the truth at that time! It just sort of...came (after much mental anguish). ;)

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    1. Kirk (River Mud) - Thanks for always taking the time to stop by!

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  18. I'm going to post a comment so that you have to reply, and you know you must. But really, I love the imagery of mountain as God, Punisher (with death) and Rewarder (with fish). The dichotomy of that thought, the sharp declination of risk v reward, makes me happy. "I may kill you, or I may let you catch trout."

    I have been to Notre Dame. Your mountain is more beautiful.

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    1. FR - Indeed. Here I am! Replying! ;) And thanks for the good words...the mountains are the closest I can get to some sort of understanding. (And glad to know about Notre Dame....somehow, I always figured the mountains would win in beauty. They almost always do...)

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  19. The sign may be the moose, but confirmation comes when they attempt to headbutt you. Looks like a nice day....wind and all. I often feel compelled to apologize to fish too, but the words rarely come out.

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    1. Rhythm Rider - Yeah, we all remarked it was a good thing it wasn't fall rutting season! Thanks as always!

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  20. "you find something here...even to hate" I'm still smiling about that one. It's amazing what these places are willing to give and willing to take from us. It never seems fair, and I'm thankful for that.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    Cheers!

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    1. Sanders - I always feel as though I've been put in my place...in a good and necessary sort of way. Thanks as always!

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  21. Wow, that is some back drop.

    Lovely stuff as ever.

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    1. Tom - It is often quite distracting from the fishing, in fact! Thanks as always for stopping by to read!

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  22. Late to the party but I was fishing...novel no? Just when I think the streak has ended you hit another one out of the park!

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    1. Howard - A novel idea, yes! Indeed. Not sure it went quite out of the fence...but thank you! ;)

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  23. A sweet piece.

    The connection of those yellowed slides to our memories or the memories of those we know and love is probably half the story; the immediate connection that makes them intimate. The other half of the story is the one they tell about the transient nature of memories and life. You won't find that in Catch magazine or Orvis' glossy ads.

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    1. Steve - Thanks much! And I think you're absolutely right about the yellowed slides and connection...

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  24. Gah! Moose! Sends shivers... Worse than a bear strangely. Beautifully written as usual Erin!

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    1. backcountryfishnerd - No kidding...I agree with you! When I'm breaking through willows, seeing evidence of "them," I'm always a little freaked. Thanks for stopping by!

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  25. Missing you. Trying not to worry.

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    1. Hart - Don't worry...I'm being taken good care of...

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  26. That was absolutely fantastic. You are a very gifted writer, I look forward to reading more of your stuff.

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    1. Joshua - Hi! Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to read and leave a comment. Means a lot!

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