Every mountain calls to you in a different way. Last weekend I asked St. Helens why she had called me back to her eerie barren landscape and why it was to be alone?
Exactly 2 years ago, I had a massive breakdown at Mount St. Helen’s while writing my first book. My fate continues wrapped within thunder & on mountains.
On some level I knew this was the completion of a circle. The events of the past few months have astonishingly paralleled that summer and the long and life-defining road trip across the North American West the following fall. The Black Lives Matter protests pleading for social justice on the streets. Quarantine isolation- which mirrored my own isolation of this journey.
The fallout caused after being unknowingly drugged this summer led to trials and ordeals few know about.
Yet again I found myself having to deal w/ several broken relationships and betrayals which caused complications at work and home. Bitter reminders of the silent battles and struggles so many people and friends and family deal with every day.
Here I was standing at the desolate top of Ape Canyon where you can usually see the mountains dotting the region. There was no one else at the top of this trail 1 mile above sea level. I stayed there for hours. Sitting on a boulder surrounded by lichen. Sat in quiet contemplation in sunlight and observing the subtle turn to autumn. A revelation hit me, “the mountain is always alive.” I got up to leave- satisfied with this answer.
And then I saw smoke and clouds pouring in through the valleys at an alarming speed. At the time I didn’t know it was smoke from the wildfires 60 miles away.
Here I was again alone on the same mountain which has seen its own crisis. An ancient volcano whom has blown its lid innumerable times in the past. This time we were both standing tall and unscathed.
2 years prior I had screamed “fucking cunt of America” and many more expletives of rage against systemic oppression, of inequality echoing on these very mountain walls. The anger and hurt at former friends abandoning me when I started to get attention for writing a book hoping to help those struggling w/ LGBTQIA+ identities.
Exacerbated by the social apathy of most everyone I knew and my family especially my father still voting for Trump and Ted Cruz, all on the edges of a yet-to-be diagnosed mental-health condition. I just wanted it all to end. But it didn’t. My sister and some true friends came to my aid. Yet would be several months of more adventures before I could take stock of the destruction and creation during this period of my life.
Observant of the wildfire smoke, I hiked down Ape Canyon this time in peace and acceptance. I’d rather fight the fire on the outside than be tortured by an inner one of the mind- as I had most every day for years.