Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Spirit of the Mountains

When we were children, our family would go camping every summer. Those were glorious times, filled with adventure and intrigue. Even as adults, camping was a special event.
Before I was married, my fiancee joined my family in a trip to Strawberry mountain. Even the name sounds wonderful doesn't it?

Anyhow, one early afternoon while the guys and kids were at the lake fishing, Mum, Sissy and I watched in amazement as an old pickup barreled into the next campsite. In a rush and a frazzle the young couple threw a tarp over the entire vehicle, then climbed into the back of the truck to huddle beneath.

Suddenly there was a deafening bellow of sound comparable to what Rip Van Winkle must have heard--the powerful awesome thunder of nine-pins echoing back and forth against the mountainsides to rumble down into the earth between our toes.

Then it began to rain. It started softly enough, but quickly grew in intensity. Then our fire started to go out--we rushed around, gathering sticks and burnables from the surrounding woods, tossing more and more wood onto the fire until it raged and spluttered against the onslaught.

Rainwater ran unchecked from the crowns of our heads, into our eyes and faces. Hair wet and whipping, we kept adding to the flickering flames, as the skies grew ominously darker, and cruel lightning split the skies. Thunder boomed and the wind howled, throwing handfuls of rain and hail sideways against our aching bodies.

But the fire roared back in pure spite--so when the rest of our group tromped their cold and wet way into camp, warmth and firelight greeted them. As fast as the rain fell, the fire warmed us. Steam rose from our clothing to mingle with the downpour. And we smiled at one another, reveling in the pure adventure of it all.

Then, as quickly as it came, the storm departed, leaving the air clear and full of sunshine. Our neighbors came out from beneath their tarp, folded it up and went on their way.

The mountains can be dangerous and caprices. But in contrast to the violence which sometimes makes itself known, time spent in the mountains can be filled with the stillness of starlight, the aroma of pine, the crackle of the fire and poignant, fragrant memories of family togetherness.

5 comments:

Nina P. said...

I Love Camping!! And yes there is a satisfaction in being able to keep a fire going in a downpour!! :-D We did that and my 2 neices went out with an umbrella and roasted marshmellows!! Now to find that photo! LOL... I love your art, an amazing depiction of the mountains, nature and the beautiful soul within. We must take care of her lest we loose the beauty. Thank you.

Clytie said...

I remember that trip! I don't think I have ever been closer to a thunderstorm than on Strawberry Mountain! Except once or twice in Colorado ... Your Spirit of the Mountains is perfect, by the way. She is a perfect guardian.

Mekeel McBride said...

I am curious. . .that is the thunder of nine pins? I didn't quite understand that. Love the image of the two people driving in, diving under their tarp, and leaving when the rain stopped. Your drawing is beautiful. She looks like the spirit of the mountain to me.

~Cheryl said...

What a great story! I think I see the dear Strawberry Mt and some trees reflected in the lovely lady's eyes.

Woman in a Window said...

I have to admit, I would have been hiding under tarp, not chucking wood on fire. I'm surprised you beat it and delighted you even tried!