There is something about that mountain.
Sharp and jagged, a craggy outline against an endless sky. Defined. The edges in his face are all wisdom. Snow capping the peaks. Descending only so far and then, abruptly, no further.
My mother knew that mountain’s face before she learned to read. And I… I, too, found my beginning in his shadow. Her brothers never left his sight, for in it they are forever home. And perhaps there is something of the mountain in those men. Strong. Stately. Wise. Proud.
He overlooks vast valleys and forests and mountains unlike those familiar to me. Foreign to my green gardens and lawns and the mountains of home. Dear, dear home. This land is not so gentle to my eyes. It speaks a language I cannot translate. Not so refined. Not so lush and watered. No.
It is vast. It is wild. It is free.
With trees stretching towards the sky as if to scrape against it and pull the blue back to their roots for nourishment. Dirts of soft gray and tanned browns, piled up into mountains with scattered brush clinging to their sides. Greens so soft and hushed they barely hint their existence. Over every hill you hope to see water. It must be there somewhere, after all. The life is different but there, nonetheless. And oh, so vibrant in its own determined, quiet way.
And I am a captive prisoner to all my eyes can absorb of it! I want to run into the pallet of muted tans and grays and golds and greens. I want to be a part of the song it sings and capture some part of it within my heart. I want to melt into the landscape and become a part of its beauty. A flawless surrender. Oh… could I?
There is yesterday in that scene before me. A time before. Where fears were so primitive they were companions we respected. Were we not meant to be friends? All this landscape, all this earth, all this world and its many facets, all of it? Were we not meant to live in concert with its mystery? Could I, for a moment, go back? Go back to a simple you and I? Where there was nothing between us? Nothing. Blending the sky to the earth and the earth to the sea and the sea to my skin.
Perhaps… perhaps that is why I swim…?
Another of many reasons, I suppose. To wrap myself up in the song of my surroundings, wherever and whenever and however I possibly can. To become a small piece of the beautiful, astounding quiet array before me. To forget the man-made puzzles and troubles and complications – if only for a moment. To explore. To challenge. To remember just how finite our existence is and just how great and terrible and beautiful and powerful all the forces of nature are.
Just to be.
In the shadow of that mountain.