November 16, 2014 at 9:53pm
I bury my face in the moss and take a deep breath. Oh my goodness! My heart smiles and I take in another breath, and another and another. I start laughing as I keep gulping in breaths of sweet mossy Earth. I love the smell of our Earth! It smells like someplace from my childhood, probably the woods behind our home…I can’t pin point it but I know and love this smell. I laugh aloud in sweet connection with this precious, delicate yet spongy moss. Stella stands patiently with her black and white furry head titled to the side as she watches me from her perch on the mountain forest trail. She waits for me yet again on our descent from a steep, cold, icy and glorious climb up Mt. Dickerman in mid November.
Yes, this is a typical scene as Stella and I descend from our mountain climbs. She trots and flies down the trail, and I, on the other hand, saunter and stroll to soak in all the tree and forest and stone beauty that I may have missed on my way up the mountain. On the way up, I enjoy hiking with strong determination. I love how the mountain challenges my body, my breath and is a training for my mind. Coming to the mountains is one of my primary sources/ways of renewal, of replenishing my Spirit. Sometimes when I come to the mountains, I have a lot of mind chatter, or questions or concerns carried in my body from my city life or…just from living life. Coming to the mountains helps me unwind, empty out the thoughts, and stagnate Qi, and receive Nature’s most precious gift of stillness, presence and exhilarating aliveness.
Yesterday I picked a steep climb up Mt. Dickerman…just shy of 4,000ft elevation gain with ~45 steep forest switch backs before opening up into divine alpine country and mountain peaks in all directions, and then with still more up and up and up…into the now slick and icy alpine terrain and summit. This challenge of “up” is such an excellent body and mind cleanse and training. If I think of or could see just how far up I need to go to reach the top, it seems too far! Too high!!! Yet I love the ingenuity of our Mountains! :)From the base, often you can’t see the top – she clothes her summit in furry forests and huge stones. You can’t see it, but you can feel it with your heart.From the base, I can already start to taste the exaltation of reveling upon the spectacular summit glory of standing with a sea of snow-capped mountains before me! This feeds my heart’s fire of desire and I am ready and eager to run into the forest and start my steady upward climb. And the mountain entices me in with her lush beauty of the friendly giants of old growth Cedar queens, Douglas fir kings, silent stone teachers, singing streams, dripping icicles, green moss covered logs and baby ferns curled and delicately shimmering in the mountain breeze.….Aaahhhhh!
So into the forest I go, climbing higher and higher, keeping my full attention on this breath, this step, this switch back, this icy patch to traverse….the task in my immediate path. Stella, my faithful companion,happily and lovingly trots ahead of me, breathing deep and her beautiful brown eyes happy and bright.
My mind gets quieter as my body works harder, and by the time I reach the sacred alpine meadows and the summit itself, I’ve been cleansed by the mountain. This is when the deeper teachings rush in, sometimes as a whisper, sometimes as a profound stillness, sometimes as an expansive awareness, sometimes a feeling and breathing with the sea of forest and stone, sometimes as immense Joy and love, and sometimes as a raven flying to perch itself on the tree top next to me and quietly watch as I do qigong…
Our Mountains bring me home. They are Life, teaming, living breathing and exuding beauty. Our Mountains are filled with my greatest Teachers.
They stand for millennium, constantly creating and giving life. They are always offering, always teaching, yet it takes me heeding my heart’s call – to get out, touch in, go to the Wild Lands and be present, be here – to be able to hear and receive.