Springtime in the Mountains

The Mountains Through the TreesI went today up into the mountains. It’s a gorgeous day, sunny, spotty clouds in the sky, little wind. It’s not too hot, but as I hiked up the road deeper into the mountains, with the sun on me, I could feel the heat.

I found a place, a little off the road, just on the edge where the hillside cuts suddenly down to the roaring stream below, just now starting to swell with the early spring runoff.

I sat there, on a cushion of moss and last year’s leaves, where they gather on a piece of granite, just barely showing its head through the mountain soil.

Around me is a stand of aspen, still bare, for the buds that show their rebirth are yet to come. But the bark has began to change, away from its winter white, past the yellow, into a hint of green, a sure sign the sap is flowing and buds are still to come.

Down the slope before me, the aspen give way to the lodge pole pine that holds the steep bank in place. They, too, are awakening, the first beginnings of new growth, not quite pushing forth. Around their bases, small snowfields hide from the heat of the sun, still hanging on, but shrinking, wetting the tree roots and soil.

Looking across, I see the steep slope of the mountain across from me, stands of pine and runs of snow patchy across the rock cliffs. Most of it is in shadow, as the sun moves westward, but here where I sit, the sun sneaks through trees and caresses my skin.

I listen. There is little sound beyond the roar of the water. There is a peacefulness in such all consuming sound that overcomes just about everything. If I listen carefully, I can make out the sounds of birds, the few that have returned this early, but most of their song is lost in the torrent of the water.

The air itself smells of spring, the decay of last year’s leaves mixing with the fresh pine smell, whiffs of this and that, few smells distinct. Nothing smells like the mountain forests in spring, and each week, each month, brings new smells and changes. I think you could tell the time of the year almost to the day from just the smells if you paid attention for long enough.

I like the solitude of the mountains. I see no other people, hear no other people, smell no other people. It is just me and the mountain, me and the water, me and the trees, me and the soil, me and the butterflies, me and the birds. It calms me, like nothing else does, relaxes me. Besides my love, I can truly share this peace with no other, for few truly let go and feel the wilderness.

Spring is a time of awakening, but also a time of feeding. That which fell or died in the autumn or winter becomes food now, and the snow that once brought death now dies itself to awaken the land.

I see the first buds rising from the ground, it is too early for the flowers they predict. I see the buds on the pines, it is too early for the needles and cones they predict. I see the green colour of the aspens, it is too early for the leaves it predicts. I see myself calming and waking up to spring, the time has come for me, spring is here.

~Lorekeeper, May 5, 2017