Dilemma, Take Two


Blue Ridge Mountains, VA

I can breathe here. With exceptions, like when large groups of tourists descend upon the mountains. When engines rev too high. When children flock to the trails, run, scream at each other, in joy or out of spite. Mostly, it’s quiet enough to hear the mountains. If you listen carefully, you can hear them breathe, too. Not like my breath. Especially not like my labored breath after I walk up trails.

Walking down them is much easier.

But that’s not the mountain’s breath. Its breath is slow and long and like a controlled blast of wind. So controlled, it’s more like a breeze set free.

Sent soaring above the valleys, with the birds, with the higher clouds and their child wisps. How many times have I stopped, stared at the clouds, the birds and their inhuman children and wanted to go there. Not much higher than they are. But a little bit. High enough to see them below me, and then follow them, watch the sunlight change the shadows on the mountain rocks and trees, like a painter with very long arms.

 Like a magically large painter, who can see everything. If only. If only the magic in books could be translated to the sky, the rocks and the breezes. I know when something is that good. Then it would be a time for suspending time. It would be a way to capture beauty in stillness, but, impossibly, to keep it all in motion, from top to bottom, side to side, a chaos of flight, an onslaught of inhuman Olympian displays. Kinetic, electric, blue and green and brown, with colors I’ve never heard of before, but always see. Colors I once was afraid to look at but no longer can be, once the magic of books passes into this world, on these ancient rocks, overlooking the Valley of the Crows.

Dilemma, Take Two
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