Sunday, April 19, 2009

To the Mountain

In the coming week, I will descend through dark virgin forests and climb a (relatively) high mountain, walk upon the rock and sands of eternity and touch my feet (only instantly) in the cold ocean.

After twenty years, I return to Oregon. I lived there for ten, just out of college and so open to the world. I practiced my art and learned my trade there. I fell in love and twisted through the agonies of divorce. I became a father. I helped children be born and watched friends die.

My life was shaped on that Mountain and circumstances made it impossible for me to return until now. A pot luck is planned for Friday evening, a gathering open to the many I once knew, now, like me, so much more grown up. Instruments are especially invited and the fellows who used to play them with me to join in our new songs. There will be more hugs than time for deep words, but joyful reconnections will have their significance.

Potentially, the drenching Oregon rain could shroud the Mountain, but there are physical places where I am compelled to walk to remember the young man full of wonder and awe who stopped to build a home that burned down to be built again, creating a life as well. This young man stepped in courageously to try to heal a family in grief and was rewarded with a daughter of his own. The choice to stay closed other doors, their vague opportunities opaque against the solid need of a family in such distress. The daughters remain the important issue of that time, and eagerly await the embrace of my new found strength.

This is not a return to me in the sense of a prodigal mission. I do not embark with any thought of finally making this rugged landscape my home once again. I return, instead, to set foot on the Mountain and reconnect with a spirit that has always been with me, but lay dormant these thirty years.

Rather than run from the pain I was suffering then, not understanding , I think by leaving, I may actually have embraced it all the more deeply, running towards something that felt right, but unknowingly still obscured the spirit of the heart longing for release.

The world around us, whirling and twirling with activities and requirements, often dictates lessons we believe we should learn. Our friends and neighbors all seem to be on paths of comfort, security and happiness. So easily, we can shush the voice inside us that offers temptations of delicious dreams because our outside influences describe them as ludicrous, impossible to achieve in our normal lives.

We are raised to be modest and believe heroes are on television, not right beside us, or inside us. If we occasionally rise to greatness, it is easy to believe it is only a moment and so quickly we settle back into our acceptance of mediocre abilities and opportunities.

Abundance happens to others, we think. We are the flesh and blood that slogs through days making meals, ferrying kids, work, work, working our lives away.

Those precious moments of greatness are what stay with us, however, the view we linger over when we pause on any ledge to survey the distance we have traveled. The drudgery that was the day-to-day has been blurred, forgettable and illusory, while the fine moments, the ecstatic or wrenched-hearted times remain sharp and clearly visible.

Next week, on the sides of Neahkahnie Mountain, there are plenty of ledges from which to view the sea.

Please share with your friends


Anonymous said...

Rest well Kip!

laughingirl said...

May your mountain trek bring you close to the stars, Kip.
I'll miss you.

Laurie said...

I know you will enjoy your time on the mountain. It is always a good feeling to reconnect with the people and places in our past, at least for me. Have a wonderful time and soak it all in as much as possible!

Suzann said...

So beautiful - godspeed on your journey - keeping you close in my thoughts.