norm

dav

The green hills whisper their secrets of rain and sun.
The char from the summer fires isn’t gone or forgotten.
It rests beneath the lush grasses and vibrant bushes
And whispers its own secrets of flaming touches.
It pokes through here and there to ensure it is seen.
To be seen is to be remembered and that is everything.
For the summer winds will come again like always
And all it takes is a spark and the hills will be ablaze.
When the hills go up, some homes will surely follow,
They line the ridges and fill the canyons and hollows.
This cycle repeats every year, from green to brown to fire.
We sacrifice much to the pressures of the social norm pyre.

answer

 

dav

The waves glowed as they crested and crashed under the moonlit sky.  It had been a long time since I’d been to the beach in the dark.  I had forgotten the serene beauty of the water, sand and sky.  The constant churning of the ocean even seemed muted so as not to disturb the moment.  A couple planets watched on with the multitude of stars.  I stepped to the edge of the tide’s reach up the shore and waited for the last of the sun’s influence to slip away from the far horizon and decided it really should not be so long between nighttime visits to the coast.

I may speak often of my love for the mountains but there is magic in all wild places and that magic calls to me.  Have you ever watched the stars wink on the tide?  Have you ever seen the moon echo beyond the breakers?  Have you ever felt the memory of the day’s heat fading away in the soft sand between your toes?  What could any of these be but magic?  I hear the call of all the wild places.  It tugs at my heart and directs my eyes and ears.  As always, I must answer.

I’m off…

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings”

031

“The snow is melting into music.”

Hike 2008 034

“I know that our bodies were made to thrive only in pure air, and the scenes in which pure air is found.”

Hike 2008 067

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“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

Hike 2008 071

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All the images are mine.  All the words are John Muir’s.  The first 3 quotes are from here.  The final quote is from here.  I’m off the wild places of the world.  Like Muir, they call to me and I must go.

searching

Headlights bounced off another green sign, another discarded path on the journey of your life, momentarily brightening the predawn darkness before the weight of the black morning came crushing down upon you again.  You acknowledged the exit, as you had the rest, noticed it, confirmed the words weren’t the ones you were looking for, and then your eyes switched back to the road and your thoughts moved to more pressing matters.  Where was your exit?  Would you recognize it?  Would you miss it and slip into the night forever?

The edge of your soft headlights caught the dull yellow line running down the certain of the freeway.  It was the only constant in your life.  And then it broke out into dashes and your realized there was nothing constant in your life.  Your heart skipped a beat.  Your eyes flew wide with fear and joy.  And then the solid was back and your norm returned.

The miles slipped beneath your tires and the hum of their passage was a lullaby calling you back to sleep.  It was inviting, but your bed was too far in your past to return to, and the dreams that had accompanied your sleep recently were the kind you could do without.  Names shouted in anger and pain.  The red of gore splashed against white walls.  The dangerous crossings of what had been and what could have been.

No, shaking your head to ward of the partial memories, to not let your thoughts dwell on discerning the truth, you focus again on the pavement coming into view just ahead of those two tiny beams of light.  Your future is out there in the darkness, waiting to be found, just beyond the arc of your headlights.  Another green sign comes into view…

Your eyes scan it quickly, hopeful, but it still isn’t the one you are looking for.  The flash of green disappears from your periphery and you are swallowed by the darkness again.  The muted colors of the night are your only companions.  You half expect to catch glimpses of coyote eyes marking your progress through their territory.  Are you predator or prey?  Are you worth noting?

Probably not.  You are just like the other humans in their metal machines hurtling down the asphalt at all hours of the day and night.  Sure, each has a story to tell, and some might even be worth listening too, and some might be best left unheard, but, in the end you are just searching for something.  More than you need.  More than you deserve.  The wild things, hidden in their shadows, adapted to camouflage with their surroundings, know what it truly means to search.  As they search for the food that gives them life and the shelter that will preserve it.

Somehow pulling into a grocery store parking lot doesn’t have the same value or meaning.  Perhaps the coyotes laugh while the rest of the world is sleeping.  Perhaps the owls join them.  And the desert rats too.  Then the sun comes up and they scamper across the burning brown sand to find the respite they can, while the silly humans still dart about searching, always searching.

For meaning?  For purpose?  For the next new gadget?  For a new life?  For a better life?  For an escape?  For a thousand reasons and none?

Another blinding burst of green alerts you to an approaching exit sign.  Your eyes read the words painted in white and your heart sighs for another path that isn’t yours to take.  You look ahead, with hope firmly entrenched somewhere near your stomach, your guts, but your mind, your thoughts have already begun to accept that you will never find what you are looking for, and that despair is the same color as the darkness that continues to swallow your journey.

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This is my response to the current Finish the Story prompt.  Have you responded yet?  What are you waiting for?

Somewhere lost in the Sierra again.

lullaby

Somewhere lost in the Sierra again.

I long for the quiet of the wild places, that dangerous whisper that lures your soul forward with the enchanting music of nature while hiding the teeth and nails of the beasts lurking in the shadows.  It’s edgy.  It’s addictive.  It’s the lullaby of my youth and the anthem of my future.

I long for the cool waters of the mountain streams, that swirl around my tired legs offering painful chills and soothing comfort in equal measures.  It’s calming.  It’s sharp.  It’s the moment that grounds me in the reality of the beautiful world blooming on the paths I walk.

I long for the star dazzled sky, that hints at all the possibilities that could ever be, worlds within worlds, and firmly reminds me of how terribly small I am.  It’s captivating.  It’s terrifying.  It’s the truth that no matter how much we matter in the lives we lead on this Earth, we are nothing and never will be in the universal scope of things.

I long for the untouched lands, that view of the world as it was before man walked upon it, unmarred by our advances, our triumphs, our failures.  It’s beautiful.  It’s home.  It’s how I recharge and face the truths of my life, my commuter lifestyle, my hypocrisy, my seasons away from the quiet, the rivers, the stars, and the untouched lands.

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This will be my last post for a bit.  I’m heading out on a backpacking trip that will necessitate that I unplug for a couple days.  I’m very much looking forward to both the trip and unplugging.