Early morning shadows playing upon them, shifting mist nestling in the crevices, creeping across the landscape below. Three snow capped volcanoes stud the skyline.  I am amongst giants.  I am at the top of the world. I am alone. It is more than I can handle.  I drink it in. 


It is wonderful to be alone.  The greater ‘Portland/Vancouver Area’ lies somewhere far below. To the south, I catch a glimpse of the meandering shiny strip that is the Columbia River.  I know that masses of humanity are on the move, starting the day, bombarding the atmosphere with noise and traffic and the hustle bustle of everyday life - so much noise, so many people.  But I cannot criticize.  If I were not here I would be there.  I have escaped, if only for a few hours.  It is deliciously quiet up here.  I treasure it. Silence is a rare commodity, and becoming harder to find.  Most of us would agree that there are too many people, but no one seems to want to give up their own spot. So, what are we to do?


There is power in the mountains.  Mt. St. Helens is a gentle reminder of the power that is there.  It is important to me somehow.  It all seems so still, but I know it is moving silently in a motion so slow that we cannot perceive it.  To paraphrase a memorable line from a song out of my flower child past, an obscure group called ‘Pearls Before Swine’ sang dreamily, ‘When asked to write words always true, they replied, ‘these things too shall pass away.”  The mountain appear timeless, but they aren’t really. They are alive, they are ever changing, they have a life span.  Can we ever truly comprehend the life of a redwood, or a mountain range, a crystal forming in the depths below, or star light finally making it’s way to earth after millions of light years?  I try to keep this perspective as I amble through life, sometimes rambling, sometimes scrambling


My thoughts shift from the millenniums of millenniums that created the scene of today, to the wildflowers that now seem so fleeting that we dare not blink or we will miss them. They all have their place, as do we among them.  We are but a piece of the puzzle, with more power than is good for us.  Higher intelligence and opposable thumbs come with a price.  Let us use them wisely.


I am now in that peculiar and enjoyable state of consciousness that overtakes me in these situations.  My sense of times come unglued.  Have I been here one hour, or four hours?  I am regenerated.  I pack up my stuff and head down the path.  Real life calls, and I have work to do, but for a few hours I have been able to absorb a bit of the power and gentleness of the life force that connects us all.  


As I reluctantly leave my solitary post, I see that the Gentians have begun to unfurl their buds to the warmth of the day. 


Life goes on.


(August 7, 1994)


It is just past dawn.  I sit with my back against the cool smoothness of a large picturesque bolder. Dangling blue bells of Campanula rotundifolia surround me, entertaining me with their wind dancing on this fine morning.  The Gentian calycosa have not yet awakened, their buds still rolled tightly from the night before.  From my perch near the summit of Silver Star Mountian, I view a scene from an ancient Japanese painting.  Massive shapes are all around me - hills beyond hills beyond hills.  Early morning shadows playing upon them, shifting mist nestling in the crevices, creeping across the landscape below. Three snow capped volcanoes stud the skyline. 

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