Is it possible to belong to a landscape…to really really love it…with your entire existence? To look out upon stubbled fields of labor and time, and only see the golden sun-kissed warmth of earth and soil. To smell that sweet scent of sage on wind, and be enraptured with the feeling of creation…of the beginning of time..of the start of it all. To be somewhere and just know you well, belong…
As I climb the ridge-line eastward, with dogs and husband in lead, I cannot help but smile at life’s fortunes. This evening we headed up our mountain in search of grouse for dinner. The bird hunting season has just opened and the excitement of dog and man is contagious.
This landscape is a medley of tree, mountain and meadow.
Of green, stone and blossom.
Of life, death and re-birth.
Of douglas-fir, pinnacle and oat-straw.
A mixture of living and decay.
The cycles of existence present everywhere as I bend down to pick up a coyote skull I have eyed just off the trail. Each snap of stick a precious reminder of my visitor-ship in these deep and wild woods. An awareness of fragility, but a pride of strength.
The crisp Fall air has arrived, and I breathe deep, filling my lungs with promises of bonfires, flannel shirts, afternoon fishing trips and endless hours of canning preserves in our little earthen berm cabin. I love Fall, I love this landscape, and I absolutely am in love with this evening.
A brilliance of color and setting sun overtakes me and I stand still, as if a neighboring mountain has invited me to stand with him, until the end of time. I am overcome with adoration for this holy vista. Three deep breaths, and I step forward to pick a bundle of sage to stick in my shirt pocket. The smell is intoxicating, and reminds me of my time in Idaho. Idaho is such a wild sea of sage and earth, a mixture of plateau, rimrock, river valley, dense forest and wide open plains. A place very different than my present, but both true loves of mine, all the same.
As I near the cliff’s edge, I am reminded of the power of love and presence. Of goodness and fairness. Of truth and honesty. Of beauty and devotion. The true allure of being here, is knowing these outings re-set my inner workings and wash my spirit clean. They strengthen my relationships and teach me betterness. It is true, I belong to this landscape.
Patrick and I head down the mountain in the darkness of the days end. The dogs loaded up in the truck bed, and my tummy grumbling at the desire for grouse burritos.