Wednesday, September 4, 2013

On the Mesa

    After several days being more social than I had been in several weeks before (writing, after all, is solitary mostly), I decided I needed to step back and take time for exploration.  My younger self would have hiked to Chimney Rock, even in the close to 90 degree heat, but this older, wiser self, realized a solitary climb, especially in the heat, especially at the elevation, would have done nothing to enhance my physical nature and may, in fact, have been detrimental.  Still, I wanted an adventure.   I decided to explore the mesa outside my door.  The view of the Pedernal in the distance, hugged by puffy clouds in the Dodger blue sky, begged a photo.  I grabbed my long and short lens from the room and snapped a few images.  I walked to the edge of the mesa and focused on Kitchen Rock.  Long lens, short lens.  The Agape Center, click.  The alfalfa fields, rainbirds sputtering, snap.  Tumbleweed housing, cottonwood trees, the switchback trail, both down and up, the Arts Center, the Labyrinth.  Long lens, short lens, snap and click.  The sun warmed my head, heated my hair, I'd forgotten my hat.  Just a few more pictures, I'd taken so many before.  A red tailed hawk keened, crows cawed, the horses snorted and the sounds drew me back to the details.  The wind kissed the sides of my face, lapping the moisture.  I stopped and gazed at the ground in front of me.  Round pellets.  Rabbit droppings?  Too large.  A deer? Why hadn't I see her pass or heard her in the night as I sat under the frosting of stars in the licorice sky? Not three feet away other deposits in nature's outhouse, these looking like a horse had passed, but a not so large horse.  How did I miss a horse prance along the mesa? Maybe his passing had come in those days of being social, or in the days before when I was not yet part of the landscape. I examined the texture of the ground, the sandy scrunchy pieces of not quite dirt that blended with the red puffs of powder.  I saw the cactus, circular branches of protruding needles, laying on the ground as if the heat had made it tired.  I saw the cactus, thin straight prickled rigid branches standing in bunches with siblings, all at attention.  I walked towards the other end of the bluff, past the pink corrugated building with "Telescope" on the side.  The gnarled tree with the multicolored rust and yellow moss covered rock drew me towards itself.  Gnarled wood a particular photographic favorite of mine. So complex, not simple lines, but bound with a story.  In front of the short tree a cairn had been created.  Small with four stacked rocks.  Plenty of room to grow.  I spoke to the tree, a soliloquy of praise for its beauty, richness, tenacity, its holding of stories and of wisdom.  I pushed positive energy in its direction and felt its return on the embrace of the wind, the keening of the hawk.  Not wanting to leave this place without a change, (reciprocity, I thought), I scoured the ground for the precise rock to add to the cairn.  The shadows of the tree directed me.  I placed my offering atop the others, leaving it solidly balanced, allowing for additions, hoping that in the proximate future I might return.  From the landscape at large, to the particulars of the place, the camera fixed the memories, my mind continues to blend them and mix them and sift them into what as yet has not been fully revealed.

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