Thursday, September 19, 2013

Saying Good-by to Summer

Clements Mountain 9/14/2013
A bittersweet smile crossed my face as I stood looking at my favorite view of Clement's Mountain.  For whatever reason, I have loved this mountain from the first moment I saw it in early June.  Its regal continence stirred within my soul a wild longing...where it came from exactly, I do not know.  But this once, glacier clad mountain continues to speak to my wild heart and I acknowledge it with a kiss blown into the wind and few tears.

The side of Clements Mountain 8/2013
I came up here last Saturday thinking it would be my last time up before I move on to other adventures. I came to say goodbye, to ask it to watch over the wildness contained in this beautiful park.  To ask the Guardians who stand tall up there on the peak to keep safe the secrets I have only begun to hear and listen to.  But I was wrong.  I did come another day...yesterday and was able to enjoy the wildness of that mountain in all its glory. 

The meadow below Logan Pass looking up
It was snowing on Logan Pass on September 18, 2013.   Not a lot, not dangerously, the snow melted on the pavement as we rode up the Going to the Sun Road in the Red Jammer Bus, so I felt unafraid but wonderfully, wildly alive.  The small, wet flakes flew in a straight line with the wind into my hand.  Yet they clung 1000 feet up on the tall mountain sides which towered above me.  I was not driving so I could enjoy the cold, wetness as it hit my hands, my face.  I had them both stuck out of the Red Bus windows. 

The view out the back window of the bus
Luckily I was in the back of the one else cared. I shared the back seat with a stranger, someone I'd just met a few hours before.  The delightful surprise was that we both had our windows rolled down.  I glanced over and he was as enthralled with the weather and drive as I was.  Both of us,  like kids, were hanging out the windows and were enjoying the icy wind and fog-shrouded view of the steep mountains and valley.  I laughed to myself because everyone else was bundled in blankets.

Snow on the Gardne Wall
How great was it that a kindred soul rode in that backseat with me!  I got to enjoy the unusual beauty of the high mountains on such a day with someone who "got it".  That was an extra treat on this, my birthday.  So, the good-bye today was not just to my lovely, wonderful, wild mountains but to my 50's.  Yup it was my 60th birthday. The decade contained great discovery, adventure, health/un-health, happiness/sadness, personal and spiritual growth.  

I remember my 50th birthday, clearly.  I celebrated by backpacking alone out to my favorite spot in the Deem Wilderness, skinny dipping in Lake Monroe with the bridge in full view a few miles away down the lake.  I stood on that day, 10 years ago, upright in the shallow water and waved at the cars as they traveled home unaware of the naked aging yet still fit, beautiful body in the distance!  What will this next decade hold? I do not know. 

Looking back at Logan - Hawk weathering the storm

I am very excited though, if today is an indication of things to come.  How many get to celebrate on top of a 6500 ft peak in a small snow storm?  It was a fine way to say hello to new adventures and to remind me that summer lasts only for a time so live accordingly.

Fields of August Flowers at Logan Pass
The flowers bloom wildly & boldly but for a short time.  Fall comes and they grow golden with the coolness of autumn nights and sometimes the snow touches them early and they pass sooner than they expect to. Thus there is the need to live boldly and show one's true beauty and color as opportunity allows!  But some do survive to stand amidst the snow, brazenly resilient and colorful to the end.

I capture me while taking photo of friends

That will be my new stand brazenly and colorfully and to live each day with the remembrance of September's cloudless blue skies.  I will enjoy the sun and walk up the mountain slope as far as I can for as long as I can stand upright to put one foot in front of another.  And then its going to be me and the walker clomping along.  I vow to never take things for granted but to enjoy and be amazed by the surprises around each turn in the road.  

Our shadows dance on top of Red Rock Falls in Many Glacier

So to put it in words we've all heard before and I paraphrase, I want to ...."slide into home base holding a beer glass in one hand and a chocolate bar in the other, beat up, hair askew, reading glasses slightly ajar, Leki poles bent, backpack torn and Keen sandals muddy, Yelling...WHOOO HOOOO! I did it up right!"

Sunset - Doing it up Right!