Everyone should have a place they can retreat to now and then to mend tears in their souls that living can rend in them. For me that place is the mountains and I’m about to go there for a weekend away at a friend’s cabin. The Sierra Nevada is a place where life energy flows to me instead of away. I won’t be writing to the blog there mostly because I am not taking a computer, but also because I’d have to try to be cranky there. It’s a place where I can completely relax and recharge. The phone rarely rings and almost never for me. The mail arrives in a box nearly a mile from the cabin and it’s never for me. There’s nobody knocking at the door to sell anything. Everyone who walks or rides along the street in front looks happy to be there. When I am on the front deck I am waved at by smiling neighbors who call out “hello!” Even the grinning dogs wag at me and plod along the street contentedly.
The first thing I notice is the smell of pine and fresh air, the sounds of wind whooshing in the trees and tinkling of the wind chimes behind the cabin. The stream behind the meadow in back will be running and splashing happily now and the skunk cabbage should be sprouting although I doubt it’ll be flowering just yet. Our mountains in California are glorious all year but when winter breaks and everything springs to life, every living thing transmits the feeling of a merry jig.
My friend’s dog also loves going to the mountains. On Sunday when it is time to leave she’ll look forlorn and depressed about returning to the city. She’ll sit on the couch looking sulky and accusing. Perhaps I am only projecting those feelings on her or maybe she is just a mirror of my feelings but she definitely does not want to leave that place.
One of my favorite places to walk is a meadow that is split north to south by a cold, crystal stream. The water runs high in spring filling a lake at the north end of the meadow. Small trout scurry across its gravel bed as my reflection appears on the ripples. I usually surprise a pair of paddling mallards who take flight upstream through the willows. There’s fragrant sage growing low and silver on the hills around the meadow and my jeans retain the scent for days after I’ve hiked there. The dog runs for miles to and fro across the meadow chasing jack-in-the-box ground squirrels and hide-and-go-seek birds in the bushes. But they’re wild and have no real fear of being caught by a city dog.
Anyway, I need to pack my bag, fill it with clean clothes and a toothbrush. I’m filled with joyful anticipation of the trip ahead and the peaceful healing of those mountains.