Truth and Fiction 6


Should I just break down and call this Truth and Fiction month?  Probably not…  I’m fairly sure this is the last of these completely misnamed posts.  I’ve reached the end of the photos I’ll be sharing from my recent trip into the mountains.  I’ve been having fun writing and sharing pictures though so I’ll see about digging up some other ones to keep scheduling these posts out for a bit.  Okay, yes, that was me mostly rambling.  That’s the way it goes sometimes.  Anyway…

The Truth:

The six pinecones were arranged from largest to smallest on a flat rock in the middle of the camp.  The odds against the placement having occurred naturally were larger than I cared to even contemplate.  The simplest explanation was likely the correct one, someone who had camped there before us left them.  The who and when and why will forever remain mysteries.

We left them too.  While we ended up needing the rock as part of our dinner prep, we carefully transferred the cones to another location and kept them in the same order.  Thus, we added to the unknowns of their existence for future travelers to attempt to unravel should they wish.

I was far more curious about who would find them next and what they would make of the six arranged pinecones than I was about how it was we had come across them in the first place.


The Fiction:

The message was left where those who would know its meaning would be sure to see it.  That was, unless the markers were moved accidentally, or purposefully, in the interim.  The possibility of sabotage, remote at best, was a real concern.  However, once the message had been left and we vacated the area the success of our mission was out of our hands anyway.

The days that followed were full of guilt and worry.  Had we done enough to secure the message?  Had it gotten through?  Was there more we could have done, or could still be doing, to further our cause?  The answers to these thoughts were always just more questions.

It had all seemed so straightforward when we discussed the plan ahead of time.  We just had to get to the rendezvous point and leave the message we’d been given to pass along.  But, no amount of talking could have prepared us for the actual task of forging across the land to make it to the designated spot in time.  Also, nowhere in the discussion regarding the message had weather been discussed.  Wind and rain were common enough and the slightest shift in our placements would confuse the intended directions.

We had done our part though.  It wasn’t our place to question the rest.  That truth did little to ease my troubled mind.


And so it was that here, at the end of this series, I finally delivered one complete truth and one complete fiction.  Though, perhaps the pinecones were a message for someone…  If they were, what do you think they said?

Truth and Fiction 5


This time it’s for real.  One story below is truth and one story is fiction and I’m leaving it up to you to decide which is which.  Are you up for the challenge?  I’m guessing you are.

Story 1:

I left the lake behind and ventured through the meadow in search of peace for the turmoil in my mind and body.  The mud sucked at my boots and I had to pick my path carefully, sticking to the sections where the ground was more soil than water.  I wasn’t always successful.  The chill and slosh of water seeping through my shoes to soak my socks and feet was proof of that.  The sensation did nothing to ease my pain.

The day tipped over and the sun headed down its western slope and still I trudged on.  There were miles yet to cover and peace still to find.  Each step forward took me further from where I had started but not necessarily any closer to where I was headed.  Perhaps it would have helped to know my destination, but so few actually do.  A vague notion, an ideal maybe, and a direction are usually the best any of us are afforded.

My quest wasn’t to uncover the why of those truths so I didn’t let their heaviness weigh me down.  The pack on my back was already doing a good enough job of that as it was.  Shifting the weight slightly by arching my back, lifting the mass away from my hips and swiveling my hips, I settled the sack of food, clothes and other essentials into a more comfortable position and then continued on.  My feet quickly regained the steady rhythm of my progress.

I didn’t know where I was going, but I was on my way.


Story 2:

The tiny frogs, arrayed in colors from the dark green of the reeds sprouting from the edges of the creeping tendrils of the lake to an almost ashen grey, scattered ahead of me.  They had no interest in being stepped on and that was fine with me because I had no interest in harming them either.  I stooped to try and catch one but it jumped away before I could even get close.

The soft marshy soil at the water’s edge oozed into my shoes despite my best efforts to stay on the dry patches of the fading animal trail I followed.  I couldn’t tell what creature had created the path around the lake, but I could clearly make out the tracks and droppings of others who had used it more recently.  None were ones that worried my thoughts but I kept my gaze vigilantly sweeping around me all the same.  Even the gentlest of creatures can be dangerous when startled.

I was attempting to circle the lake without resorting to climbing into the surrounding hills.  There was no real reason for the venture beyond it was something to do and I had made circling the high altitude lakes I camped at something of a goal.  As I moved through the muck, however, I knew I would be thwarted.  The ground was more water than soil and eventually I would come to a place where I would no longer be able to continue on and still remain mostly dry.

I went on a ways further anyway, up to the very edge, as far as I could before the water covered my boots, because it was important to see that point and live that moment.


So, do you have it?  Could you spot the truth?  Was it easier to spot the fiction?  Let me know what your guesses are.

Truth and Fiction 4


Though, of course, we’ve already agreed that is a terrible title for this series.  What can I say?  I’m a sucker for routine.

The Fiction:

The high altitude air was so much thinner than he was used to.  Having come from sea level, his whole body was unaccustomed to the lack of weight in each lung filling breath.  It caused him to gasp at times chaotically through the laborious hours of the day.  It caused him to tremble when there didn’t seem enough to carry on and he wondered if he would fall before the darkness took him or the other way around.

Even the warmth of the day seemed effected by the thinness of the air as it fled quickly after the sun began its descent below the horizon.  While the light still kissed the sky, the temperature would plummet faster than seemed possible until layers were forced to be added or additional shivers and shakes would wrack his frame.

Some small comfort could be taken from the fire each night.  It became a beacon of hope for the day ahead and a victory torch for the day already survived.  It could not hold back the cold completely, for only the surfaces facing it would warm until he found himself constantly turning back to front and front to back to give each angle of himself an opportunity in its caress, but it was certainly better than not having a fire at all.


The Truth:

I have two copies of The Erratic Sun signed by myself and by Revis (yes, by both authors).  I was thinking of giving them to people who promised to write reviews in return.  I was thinking of doing another contest.  I was thinking of just letting them sit on my shelf for a bit longer.  The truth is, I’m not quite sure what to do with them.


What do you think I should do with them?



Truth and Fiction 3


The Truth:

We were lost, not for the first time on this trip and not for the last time that day, but we weren’t really lost.  We had a map and a compass and a pretty good idea of where we were and where we needed to be even though the trail we’d been on had led us astray.  We took a moment to study our situation next to this glass lake, its mirrored surface only being scuffed by the occasional splash of sunlight filtering through the trees behind us.  The pristine reflection of our lake, courtesy of the calm nature of the morning, echoed our own state of being.  It was early, we didn’t have too far to go, and we would make it there eventually.

We did, of course, make it to our next destination.  After taking our bearings, finding some landmarks we could match up on the map, and determining the most likely way to the correct trail, we headed cross country in search of it.  The gentle rise of the hillside between the layers of lakes was accepting of our meandering and we found our correct path exactly where we knew it was supposed to be, without ever really determining how we had missed it in the first place.  The unsolved mystery was just part of the adventure of it all.


The Fiction:

Two trails led to the same lake.  We took one trail the day before when we were just out exploring the scenery, deciding the other branch must be our route out only to discover that they ended up in the same place.  My feet have left their mark on many miles of backcountry trails and never before have I come across a trail intersection that ends up headed to the same destination.  Making trails is hard work and it doesn’t make sense to waste that kind of duplicative effort and energy.

But there was a lot about this part of the wilderness that didn’t make sense to me.  The trail signs always seemed to only be visible if walking one direction, and somehow that was always the opposite way from how we were headed, so we were always missing our junctions and having to backtrack.  Sometimes the trail would just disappear and we’d have to scout around to pick up again in the absence of cairns or other identifying markers.  And, then there were the instances of the cairns that led nowhere.

We missed this lake when we were supposed to hike by it, but then found it later when we went out looking for it specifically, though it took a long time and we nearly gave up.  Then we found it again later easily when we were trying to get to a different lake and hadn’t intended to swing by it again at all.  I couldn’t explain what happened.  None of us could.


I had every intention of actually telling a fiction story this time, but then the truth came out again.  Perhaps I’m just in a truth telling mood… or, perhaps the fiction is the fib that I’m going to tell you an untruth…  Or, perhaps I’m just tired and still on the mend and none of this makes any sense to anyone but me.

Truth and Fiction 2


The Fiction:

The sun descended towards its bed below the horizon, casting one last loving glow upon the day that had been.  A light breeze cascaded down from the high peeks and pushed across the otherwise still water, blurring the mirrored image of the light caressed rocks.  The day ended shortly thereafter, as is often the case at high elevation where night seems to holder greater sway than elsewhere.  The departing sun took its warmth with it and a chill settled in to keep company with the looming darkness.

The night was nothing to be leery off, however.  The stars, more than can be counted, clustered and scattered across the sky and shone fiercely, bravely, lovingly.  The sight was, and always is, beautiful.  Our sun had set for the day, but so many others would twinkle and sparkle through the night.  They were a constant companion and a reminder of how big we should be dreaming.

Soon enough the sun would grace the sky with its presence again and warm the other side of those same peeks.  The unknown noises of the darkest stretches of night would soon be forgotten.  The long hours bundled away from the cold would soon be replaced by long hours toiling away in the heat of the day.  And so the cycle would continue to repeat.


The Truth:

This became our longest day.  We somehow got on the wrong trail and ended up doing the same stretch twice, downhill once and uphill once, before deciding on a camping spot and then ranging across the landscape to find the trail we had missed.  It was beautiful country, though I am biased unabashedly for I love the Sierra, and I managed to enjoy the extra miles and extra hours despite not feeling well still.  I think the adventure of it provided ample adrenaline and excitement to continue carrying me forward long after I would have otherwise reached the end of my strength.  I actually took heart in how well I had done and that gave me the courage and peace of mind to know I could make it through whatever the remaining days held.  Even sick, I would not be disappointed by my beloved mountains.


And now that both parts are written, there really isn’t any fiction to either piece.  Perhaps I should name this series something else…?