One Chair, One Table, One Book

18 April 2020

Life at 8,000 feet in a narrow valley is exhilarating. The November sun disappears behind a boulder-strewn cliff around noon. In Spring we thrust our hands into still-frozen earth silently imploring it to wake up–we’d nuzzle it like a baby’s head if we could. We over-water everything with hope and watch as the tiniest green shoots get smothered in mold or eaten by rabbits as big as lambs.

We are constantly made stupid in the mountains.

We stand on glacier smoothed stone with wide grins and empty heads. Our lungs absorb all the power of a brain dislodged from its natural habitat too long.

As we push ourselves into the story of the valley the valley pushes back. It wraps its umbilical cord around and around our necks and hearts until the only smells we recognize and the only trees we know become the only ones we ever want to know. Still, we dream of escape. But not now. Not yet.

We are protected by miles of trees and few neighbors as the world of two months ago is upended by death. Everything is a luxury.

We took too much for granted standing right next to those who could take nothing for granted.

Metaphors should fail us now. We clutch at the void thrumming in our chests and can’t make the noise of dying go away. Nor should we. The earth shall receive its own again in silence. And whoever is left standing must be made wise and holy again in the valley of shadows.

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