Monday, December 20, 2010

Mountain Song

TRUCKEE, Calif. – Off in the distance the muted roar of a diesel engine combined with the intermittent warning tones of a snowplow backing from a driveway sing their plaintive duet. As this industrial calliope fades to silence, making its rounds into the next valley, around the next turn, the Sierra winter returns to pristine post-storm silence. The only sounds are coming from nature herself; the crackling of new snow, the drip-drip of water dropping off the icicles and an occasion breeze rustling through the trees form a very different movement… from a very different orchestra. Even the sub-freezing temperature adds a steady cadence that maintains the rhythm of winter in the high Sierras. And through the passing storm clouds the crisp starlight shines all that much brighter.

From 1998 to 2003, Truckee was my home. Although my current home is only about 100 miles to the west, it might as well be 10,000, for this winter song takes more than a short visit to reveal its beauty; it demands immersion. For the past two nights and again for the next, I am immersed - there is only acquiescence and submission, nature always calls the tune. The parallel to life in the grandest scheme is apparent and as usually seems to be the case, this has become unavoidably apparent when the world outside is at its quietest. Perhaps due to the volume of this particular brand of silence, this song of dominance and renewal, it has stirred me from my sleep. And the words will not wait…

This blog debuted five years and two days ago, give or take a few hours. I am not sure why I did not mark this particular milestone with some words of reflection, but it is quite likely I did not have much to say. It seems to be the case, at least as far as this project is concerned, more often of late. Busy? Sure, more than ever, but it usually doesn’t take a major commitment of time to write these posts. It very well could be that the novelty of life’s unexpected turns and twists has worn off… it is not as profound as it once was. That is not to say that life is any less profound, only that I notice the multitude of ironies, complexities, connections and interconnections with such frequency that it does not surprise me as deeply – and that sense of wonder is often a source of inspiration.

Thankfully it is not the sole source as this post clearly demonstrates. I am tempted to say that my life has come full circle without really understanding or caring what that means. I am beginning to believe that there is only one way to truly come “full circle” and I am not ready yet. But in many respects this colloquialism makes sense. These mountains and this little tourist town marked a line of demarcation in my life. The one side came to a violent end while the new one had its tenuous beginnings right here. Since leaving Truckee about eight years ago, that tentative new beginning took root and flourished, although I did not and could not know it then. This is the first time in a long time that I have returned and stayed long enough to allow the mountain’s winter serenade to engulf – and awaken – me.

In five years much has happened in my life and most of it was not planned. It did not just happen, it took effort on my part, but the results are beyond anything I could have imagined. The same is true of the many relationships I have formed and it is this unpredictability that has me thinking about that parallel I mentioned. Snowflakes are each unique in their creation. As they fall to the earth they combine with others to form complex and beautiful relationships. There is no blueprint, they come to earth and do what they are supposed to do. They cannot fail. As long as I can do the same - what I am supposed to do – then what is supposed to happen does not matter. Only then can I experience the same harmony that the mountains are singing now.