Friday, July 6, 2012

On the Mountain

For as long as I can remember my family has said "going on the mountain" when we travel 16 miles up a dirt road to the top of a mountain to camp, hike, and enjoy nature on my family's property. It's never been "going to the cabin" or "driving to the meadow" or even "being in the mountains." We don't say "going to our property" or "driving to our land." As I traveled the 16 bumpy, dusty miles in my small sedan, I pondered why we say "going on the mountain." It's probably just what's always been said, but, as I thought, I began to feel like the phrase "going on the mountain" personifies the land. The mountain becomes an entity unto itself. No matter how many acres are registered on the deed or how many dollars of taxes are paid, the mountain is greater than all of that. It embodies both the violent forces and gentle beauty that nature holds in her hands. "Going on the mountain" fills me with respect for the area to which I'm going. I gain appreciation for the grandeur and beauty of each majestic ridge down to each thin blade of grass. It doesn't feel like my land to be used and abused however I want. "Going on the mountain" requires and invitation from nature. Only once the snow is melted and the frosts cease, and only once the winds calm and the fires die are we given permission to trespass "on the mountain."
The meadow, the road, and the reservoir
Cougar ridge
The cabin nestled in the trees
The Butch Cassidy cabin in the meadow
A herd of elk, also called wapiti
Running elk
Giant aspen trees
The patchwork fields seen while driving off of the mountain

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