Room to breath. I need that in this thin mountain air. And I find it.
Out there miles and miles from phone, power, people. Following a trail I have been on foot, horseback, snowshoe surely a thousand times or more. Different every time. Now soft moist earth beneath my boots as the winter’s load is lifting and a spring storm falls on us, just me and my dog. Only the occasional track of elk, moose or coyote crossing our path. I see the signs well now with my head held down to reduce the resistance of the horizontal snow. Tracks highlighted by fat white flakes on the leeward side of their impression.
Raw earth. Umber, sienna, soil and seed. Awaiting new life, growth, a melodious yielding, more comfortable for the eye to see, now too harsh to behold. As the tourists await the softening of sunshine, ground cover and leaves , I am allowed this time alone.
Slowly we reconnect. As a long lost familiar lover, knowing her secret places, her touch, her feel, her scent. No words need be spoken.
My appetite is back as well. Those fancy dinner salads that did us fine at three thousand feet are replaced with cravings of meat and potatoes. And still my thigh muscles shake like a washing machine on spin cycle, and my head is dizzy from the thin air as I push myself up switchback trails because flat land is no where to be found for too long round these parts. And it feels good.
I stop again to capture another picture. An excuse to catch my breath. I consider how many times I have stopped right here, and how many pictures I have of this view. But it is different this time. I say that every time.
There’s this little yellow flower, plain and simple, nothing fancy, rather rough and ungraceful. The first flower of the season. As wild as they get. I see a few out there, only three or four, remaining upright in the wind though dusted with snow, as I I make my way over strewn rocks in the open park, head tucked in and down against the biting sky. I don’t stop to whip out my camera. My fingers are numb. I enjoy the simple, subtle gift of color and continue on my way.