Quiet. Still. Calm.
Nothing stirs.
But then a screech pierces the air and a flutter of wings heralds a hawk, on the hunt, passing overhead.
Quiet. Still. Calm.
Nothing stirs.
But then a splash, spotted afterwards by the concentric circles, minute waves, spreading outward, hints at a fish leaping for a snack.
Quiet. Still. Calm.
Nothing stirs.
But then the trees whisper and gossip as a breeze runs up the canyon, signaling the time of day and the changing weather.
Quiet. Still. Calm.
Nothing stirs.
But then a local stops to berate us in tiny barking chirps about our choice of tent, or maybe the squirrel was simply saying hello.
Quiet. Still. Calm.
Nothing stirs.
But then the unmistakable roar of jet engines pulls eyes upward to find the craft already halfway across the sky.
Quiet. Still. Calm.
Nothing stirs.
But then there is nothing wrong with that, I think, as I enjoy my time sitting next to the pristine alpine lake.
Quiet. Still. Calm.
Nothing stirs.
Exactly the way I like it.

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 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…?


The pulsing water seeks to capture the light,
And hold it enthrall.
The guarding rocks never shy from the sight,
Or interfere at all.
Time and beauty work their magic and might,
As I heed their call.
Sierra whispers her secrets ahead of the night,
Which begins to fall.
I witness the world free of the human blight,
With awe as time stalls.
Once heard, the secrets withstand every fight,
For these,
Are the kingdom’s unconquerable halls.



Hike 2008 021

When looking down is looking up,
And you tumble either way,
The birds along the edge erupt,
And the sky starts to say,
“Be at peace, be at peace:
Embrace this sweet release,
From your routine day-to-day,
And drink long from my cooling cup,”
While birds swim through the gray,
When looking down is looking up.