Sunday, March 20, 2011


     Sitting at my desk this afternoon, I can see enormous landscapes of cloud march diagonally across the narrow Lorane valley.  These towering clouds represent the spring weather pattern, and its here just in time; tomorrow is Equinox.  When spaces come, the sun shines through with a promise.  And then quickly, the curtain is drawn again, the sky goes black, and something comes down.  Today, there’s been hail, rain and sleet, in the space of about five hours.
            Tomorrow is Sunday, and that makes me think of a hike on the Butte.  And I realize this weekly burn up our lovely, tall hill has become a habit.  I also find I’m having something of a relationship with the Butte.  I know individual trees there now, as well as every bend, rise and rock in the trail.  During the workweek sometimes I catch a glimpse of the summit from downtown, and I find myself visualizing the summit.  My hill wears different clothes from minute to minute; strands of cold gray cloud, an icy, encompassing fog, or a brilliant bath of sunlight.
            In every case, seen from the perspective of my work day, a specific memory of the summit is evoked.  I travel in time and space for a moment and while I glimpse the summit, I am no longer on my way to a meeting.  I’m sitting on an andesite outcropping, sipping hot tea from the thermos.  I’m watching the cloudscapes from above, looking down.  Or the sun is pressing on my shoulder.
     This isn’t the first time I’ve had a relationship with a mountain.  There was Mt. Tabor in Portland, where I took my fear and fatigue when I was building a consulting business and watching my marriage crumble and fail.  Further back in time, there was Mt. Jefferson, and further still Mt. Hood, where lived out the exhilaration and struggles of adolescence in the 70’s.  In the middle, when I was thirty, there were the ancient ridges and climbs of Southern Oregon; Mt. McLaughlin, South Sister, Mt. Theilsen.
            There’s always been a mountain, and almost always, someone to share it with.   
            Outside my window, the clouds have passed by and the sun is shining again.  Far off, toward the open end of my little valley, way up high, a raptor circles, hunting.  The way I reckon it, she is directly over the Butte.  As if in invitation.  Tomorrow I’ll go.   Maybe I’ll have breakfast at the Hideaway first.

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