We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

The Mountains skipped like rams

Written By: Charles - Jul• 20•20

Summer and the (new moon), the Lughnasa Moon (moon of the first harvest)

Monday gratefuls: Clean floors and toilets. Chex Mix. Cinnamon rolls. Shrimp. Claussen’s picked up the pallets. Neowise. Samwise. Tolkien. Robert Penn Warren. The harem of Elk in the lower meadow. The confused Mule Deer Buck on Shadow Mountain Drive. All of our wild neighbors. And, our human ones, too.

When Kate and I went to see Amber last week, the meadow at the bottom of Shadow Mountain Drive had a harem of 20 Elk Cows, several Calves, and one proud Buck, strutting, head high. It’s a large meadow that lies between Conifer Mountain and Shadow Mountain, at the base of both. It has a Marsh that attracts Moose sometimes and an expanse filled with Grass that gets baled for hay later on in the year, this Meadow also attracts Mule Deer and Elk.

Seeing wild Animals living their lives is thrilling. Makes life in the Mountains awe-full. Delight, joy jumps right into your chest. The Mule Deer Buck that couldn’t figure out what to do with the metal barrier on a curve closer to home evoked concern. I flashed my lights for oncoming cars to warn them. The courteous dirt bike rider behind me was cautious. The Buck was unpredictable. In the five and a half years we’ve lived here I’ve seen only one dead Deer along the road, so these situations work themselves out.

As I reached in to pull out the Denver Post, I looked up at Black Mountain. A few small cumulus Clouds crowned its peak. The ski runs are dry, jagged brown scars down its face.

Unbidden, as happens often, we live in the Mountains wrote itself on my inner screen. A muted sense of wonder followed and I stood there, the latest doom-scrolling in my hand, captivated by the Mountain summer.

When Israel went out from Egypt…The mountains skipped like rams,
    the hills like lambs. Psalm 114, NRSV

The Mountains are calling and I must go. John Muir

These are not ancient Rocks caught in the stupor of inanimacy. These are not piles of Stone pushed up from the Earth’s Crust and left alone. These are Mountains. Tall, steady, confident. Like Vishnu they are stability, order, toughness made real. Shadow Mountain allows us to live on its peak and on its sides, but it could take away that permission. One massive burn through its forest of Aspens and Lodgepole Pines and our houses would be gone. Shadow Mountain would remain. The forests would grow back.

We are so Mayfly like to these sturdy beings. Our kind may not last as long Shadow Mountain. Surely won’t if we don’t change our behaviors. Yet it gives us a home, like it gives a home to our wild neighbors. A Mountain forgives those who tread its flanks. Except, perhaps, for those who shave off its peaks, ruin it with strip mines. Or, hard Metal mines that pollute Streams, kill Wildlife.

Time though. Time is the Mountain’s friend. It waits as its colleagues Rain, Snow, Ice, Lightning, running Water scour what human’s leave. Tumble it down through Creeks and Streams. Dilute it, spread it out. A million years on Shadow Mountain will look much the same, perhaps a bit shorter, perhaps a bit narrower, but still substantial. 9358 Black Mountain Drive will have long ago become a forgotten pimple.

We can learn from the Mountains. Even our Mayfly lives can gain from patience, from being slow to react, from purification in the waters of the heavens. We need these lessons now, in these Covid 19 times.

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