On Mountains

I grew up a child of the sea. I’d sit on the rocks, pretending to be the little mermaid, staring wistfully out over the ocean. She ties a string around my heart and tosses the other end to the horizon. She pulls me away, draws on my yearnings. She makes me restless. She is unpredictable and hides life, and death, in her depth. She is a capricious seductress.

I never knew what it meant to love the mountains, to call a place home. The mountain folds me in, protects me. I can lie cradled at the top, close to the sky, and vertigo sets in, although the mountain does not let me fall. I can hold the circle of the world in my mind, but for a moment.

I’ve never known the steadfast, the heaving of earth to reach the sky, the world so alive around me, the suck of mud, the intoxication of the loamy earth and pine and water and lilac. The world turns around the mountain, the storms rage, but the mountain weathers all. The forest sings, the light of the sun casts shadows over the crags, the mists rise, and the world seems to sigh.

I know now what Gatsby was talking about now, when he knew that “his mind would never romp again like the mind of God” (Fitzgerald 117).

I know now, what it means to love the mountains and to call a place home.

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