After a dinner of teriyaki chicken and rice and a visit with George (our neighbor, landlord, friend, and banjo extraordinaire), we took our guests up the mountain to the left of our cabin. It isn’t the hardest hill, but is not the easiest. It makes your heart pick up speed right away. Plo on my back added 18 pounds. My thighs and rear stung with the effort.
Ro rode her daddy piggy back. The six of us moved steadily up the old logging roads. Deer and turkey tracks were scattered in the mud. Little yellow flowers were springing up through the brown that surrounded them. The air was warm with a nip. A long awaited break from the white, the ice, the hard rains, floods, and bitter cold of winter. It felt perfect and necessary to pass that air through my lungs and out again.
We didn’t talk much for the exertion was enough. Dry, beige, scrub grass swayed in the breeze looking out of place amongst the green ferns. We passed the road to the old deep mines and the hunting cabin, taking the high road on up the mountain. Steeper yet. Two deer skip away and we see the white of their tails. No sound from their feet.
At the top we spilt up, each taking our own path. Giant, moss covered, eternal rocks stood against the ridge, balancing. I walk to the top of the ridge, stepping over the dry branches, and getting bit by briars. Aware of the baby on my back. Plo and I reach the top and the wind answers to our presence. I feel it over my skin washing me clean of the funk of days indoors in sterile rooms, and those that are not my own. I love the sound Plo makes when the wind blows. A quiet little hum… ahahahahahahah, again and again.
Soon, the others find me. We look over the other mountains, seeing other rocks, the step and bareness left by a strip mine, valleys dark and deep. We talk of future camping trips, Rainbow people, and homemade swords. How the other hill has a better view. Plo plays in the leaves for the first time and eventually bites off a piece of dried oak leaf and swallows it. Ro is quiet, thinking of how we made it to the top. Then, it is time to return home and to the movements that are life.