Sunday, December 13, 2015

All the leaves

are off the trees up here at the cabin. No more loud reports as acorns bounce off the tin roof. No more loud reports as gunshots echo across the mountains, everyone scrambling to get his or her meat for the season. My own freezer is full  courtesy of our neighbor who hunts our land.

It’s been weirdly warm, and there is far too much green under the brown carpet of leaves for mid-December. In  town our quince is flowering again. Everything seems confused and unsettled.

 Or perhaps that’s just me, trying to anthropomorphize my surroundings in attempt to understand them.

Now that the trees are bare I am  again reminded just how close the mountains are.
My views of Big and Little House Mountain differ from the familiar tabletop view most people know. But these mountains don’t feel looming so much as protecting and sheltering.

When I was graced to be able to live up here full-time, when I thought I would be here forever, I would rarely let more than a day or two pass without going into town. Deborah used to laugh at me for what she claimed was my inability to sit still long enough to enjoy, to appreciate. But I was searching for a sense of purpose  and the tasks up here seemed too big, too heavy, too complicated for this weakened and battered body to accomplish. I fled what I felt to be my limitations, my failings, my sense of overwhelmedness  for the easy productivity of a trip to town. A doctor’s appointment, a run to the grocery store and the post office and I could feel as if I had accomplished something for the day.

It has taken moving into town, (three summers and falls now, two winters and springs) to point out the obvious. It has taken this many weekends stolen from the noise and busyness of even a small town to point out what should’ve been obvious all along. But isn’t it a truth that it is most difficult to see what is right in front of us?

The need to feel productive is too ingrained in my being to change at this late date. But how did it take me this long to realize that productivity does not always equal motion? How often must I relearn what I have known all along, that spending the energy I have left trying to do leaves me no energy for trying to be. Being here, now, present for the little things.

If I am not here to notice, who will? If I’m not here to be a part of this natural world, will the natural world care? As prideful as it may seem, my answer to that is yes.

It is my responsibility, to myself, to others,  to the planet. Perhaps the more people who watch the more there will be left to see.

I can only do what I have the strength and energy left to do. And that is to watch the mountain through the fog,  through the bare limbs of trees. To watch, to listen, hopefully to learn, and to bear witness.