He sat by the foot of the mountain. His eyes closed, his heart open, his mouth breathing in the fragments of sea dust that were clinging to the last moments of the day. He had traveled far only to encounter the mountain once again.
His age was impenetrable, his mind still and set. He gathered his thoughts and his focus. He approached the burly, wild, green grass and began his ascent into prayer. As he knelt, his body gnarled with the wisdom of the years, he once again gave way to the breath that was his for the journey. The cool, nonchalant blue drone would soon be the breath of the mountain. The breath of the mountain would soon be his to taste.
A long day it had been. A long day of pensive walk, kaleidoscopic silence, an escalade of mystical symphonies hanging like lace against the backdrop of an earlier hot sun, along with the company of heaven-bound birds. He was fraught with concern, for in the pit of his aloneness, his lament was deep and fearful. His cries shattered the loneliness of the wind, his nothingness prevalent against the drifting sunset.
As the passing clouds filtered through his mind like the passing of a century of lives, his lament cursed with angst, he knew it was time. He felt the ancient cradle of sound swell up along his bruised and weary breastbone. He struggled to grasp the meaning of it all, but knew that in his kneeling his simple, weary soul knew all in this unknowing.
His name felt forlorn against his brow, his name known to no one, and yet he was everyone’s name. He held tenaciously to this name, perhaps as a child would to a piece of bright, red string. What was in his name? What was in the name of the stars, in the shadows of the caves, in the children that had been delivered against the dusk of the full moon? A hollow ringing hung just below the horizon like a note in an old wooden cradle as he thought about the names of all of his lost children. Somewhere in all of this madness he thought there must be some beauty in this despair.
The veil of naming clung to his thinking, timeless in wonder yet melancholy and aching in his prayer. “Who am I?” was his deepest, most devotional question, for there stemmed the salt of his marrow, the wisdom of his heart, the breath of his ache, the love of his loins and the passion of his art. There lie the utmost, tender trust of the womb of his being. The caress of the mountain eased his tears enough so that he may focus deeply into the eternal question. He did this for every man, woman and child that came to mind. For tragedy was abound these days. He succumbed to the passing moments, and then hours. He lit a fire, and watched it unfold into the slowly smoldering night sky. One by one the stars arrived, keeping him company with his silence. One by one, the souls of antiquity rose out of their sleep, soundless and yet echoing with the lives of all of the unknown.
The cool air, the presence of nature’s evening choir, and the enchanted shadows dancing across the fields below, captivated the psalmist. Nightscape eased onto his tired eyes, leaving him inspired to resume his prayer. More hours, midnight coming and going, till at last he fell asleep within the confines of his sorrow.
As the sun began its graceful ascent toward the sacred morning sky, a new and ancient day, this sacred day of birth, and re-birth, remembered and remembering with cherished breath against the sandscape, there he was rousing from dawn’s affectionate embrace. The mountain spoke no word, and yet her beauty gives rise at every turn. The psalmist pressed his face up against the wind as he beckoned a gracious good morning for all who had the ears and mind to listen. He was not alone. He was surrounded by a tundra of emotion as he carried with him the messages of his night voices and dreams.
He once again turned to the mountain bowing humbly, his forehead kissing the cool of mother earth. “Go forth,” she whispered. Serenely, calmly she spoke. “Do not look back, yet be beholding to your past. Lay not your eyes but your heart on the future.”
His skin quivered as the brisk morning air filled him with hope. He felt as though he was sitting in the company of ancestors, ancestors that knew him and of him. Ancestors that would be his guides into the new world yet to be discovered.
The psalmist slowly rose to his feet to meet the day. The haunted gauntlet of emotion had disappeared along with the morning dew. He loaded up his scarred, dark tanned leather bag with pieces of the charcoal left over from the evening’s fire and rounded up his other few belongings. He would write about his events, and he would draw the images of the dreams that had settled into his memory. The journey would still be long and arduous but he knew the path would be steeped with good company. He smiled and squinted at the heavy morning sun and bowed to the Mountain with reverence. He no longer felt diminished, nor unnoticed. He no longer felt burdened with shame, or regret. He took up his pace slowly, meandering down the hill filling his empty belly with his last few pieces of bread. Unraveling his bright orange bandana, he began to whistle as he made his descent into the day. A sip of water for the journey passed his lips, prayers passed his lips and an astounding peace filled his marrow. He was on his way once again. The psalmist began to sing.
Peace filled his eyes. He lingered no longer with guilt as his bedfellow. He stumbled, fumbled and tumbled his way back into life, his heart filled with joy. He paused for a moment to take in the view. Beyond the distance, beyond the horizon, there she was: the Mountain. The psalmist was in good company. He knew the journey home would be filled with the wind of Mystery.
© Vivianne LaRiviere