There is something about the mountains. Something hard.
There is clarity. Breath. Power. The earth shifts beneath. The sky above, Big Sky – I watch a storm form over the valley and shift towards us. There is nothing but sky – a kind of sea, the blue darkens into stone.
This sense of being upside-down, of floating, face down. I can see for miles. The thick of it. Bridges of snow and ice and the earth beneath, steep and unbending.
She is always ‘she.’ It makes sense this way.
There is always an invitation to enter. A way to dive. Except when the invitation is revoked. On these days, I sit at the steps of her house and wait.
Today, I waited. I didn’t mind. She decides. There is no reason to it, at least, a reason that I can comprehend.
There is beer and there are aimless conversations in the waiting, the planning, the anticipating.
The snow falls, then melts. The earth beneath folds into hills. A gradual sluff.
There is no point to this moment – it resonates, regardless and forms its own memory.
There is more beer. Good beer. Something hoppy and thick. Then there are stories. Random tellings and histories I commit to memory – things worth remembering. Awkward and fabulous happenings. I could not imagine.
It’s a magical world – I also read Calvin and Hobbes in the waiting, fighting and then, collapsing time into the space of the porch and the glass emptying and filling beside me.
There is nothing profound in the waiting. Just the watching. The sky cuts itself into ridges. Paper mache clouds. Something dark in the edges. The light cuts.
I am trying to paint with words. I cannot paint – something I regret.
There are lights in the sky. A red stain against the hills. There is still the waiting which means more beer, more watching, against the sun and the sky slipping deeper into the snow fields and negative space between ridges.
There are roads that lead no where. There are endless trails cut in spirals, ever expanding.
There are pictures. Images. There are voices.
She decides. And I am waiting. A reminder, a kind of calling. Within the emptiness, she casts a constant shadow.
I entertained the city, even applied to a teaching job in New York. I told my husband I was leaving. I needed something more, something meaningful, something beyond this – motioning to the porch, the book, and the beer.
I needed more.
But, in fact, what I needed was to wait. Waiting, this is, sitting still, watching, listening. This kind of translation, the process of simply being in a moment without needing the moment to outline itself as it passes. A sky in a sky and then the women in the mountain who moves and who will not be moved.
I am not a ski bum. I am not a biker. I am not a hard woman, the kind I admire from afar. I am not a strong woman, the kind with thighs and arms traced in iron, calves outlined in aspen roots, perfectly toned and sculpted statues. I am not a fast woman. I am not a loud woman. Furthermore, I am not young – at least I don’t feel young, not young enough to entertain this uncertainty with the careless ambition I think it requires. I belong in a city, in a space where abstract thought is celebrated, where these ideas have something or someone to bounce off of. References. Cultural, social discussions and diversity. Time and space in a box. Something hard, something to grasp.
But it requires none of the above. And that is where the art comes into play. I can move through the mountains, yes. But to assume her, realize her, and dare I say it, become her – the art is in the waiting, the silence, the questioning that slowly lapses into a strange kind of observing without focus. The edges blur into the sky and it is all drowning.
I may become a mountain-girl yet.