Mountains have a way with me. While I never gazed upon these specific peaks before, there is a familiarity; a comfort I feel when I am within their shadows. I am taken in and sheltered, but not from danger. Sheltered from the artificiality of the work week, where one rises to the sound of an alarm clock (is it any wonder we are anxious when the tool we begin our day with signifies alarm?). Sheltered from the din of the wheels of commerce, but not from nature, nor the consequences of a misstep or poor decision. Thus in the mountains, I feel more alive than anyplace else.
But there is more. Mountains, like men, may be created equal, but some are more equal than others. Some mountains birth mighty streams. In some of these streams swim native trout. Whether designed by a creator for this specific watershed or evolved through eons, the debate seems moot this day. For how and why they are here is not as important as the fact that they are here. They are there and need to stay. For if they cease to be, we are the worse for it. Indeed if they are lost, we lose a part of ourselves, for one more piece of Eden will have passed from the present into posterity, existing only in picture books and museum collections.
This day I will not think of those things. I will save my Lorax song for another day. Today I breathe mountain air. I walk mountain trails. I step into crystalline streams fed by snow-melt and feel the cold currents push against me and rush down, ever down to the sea.
Yesterday I was near sea level. Today I am ten thousand feet higher. Yesterday my troubled thoughts were legion, but here they have no power, for I am close to nature. Close to trout. Closer to God.
“There are things beneath the surface of the river I will never know. There is not time enough to learn them, and the river is always changing. But sometimes on a rare day, for a few moments or hours, the barrier between water and land vanishes, and I see trout in their watery world and hear the sound of the stream, and the wind in the trees, and watch as insects hover over the water, and a mink slips silently along the bank, It is an intimacy born of long hours on the water, of study and of love. It is why I fish.” Frank Weissbarth from Holy Ghost Creek