Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Cougar Rock

Scramble up to Cougar Rock. The land is steep. Any boulder loosened by my feet tumbles all the way down the mountain side–its momentum ending abruptly with a crash. Other people come here but I can’t see the path they’ve taken so I follow my own route in city shoes that aren’t really suitable for climbing. Like the other animals, I make do with what I have, moving with careful carelessness, switching back and forth, zig zagging as I ascend, knowing there is no one to catch my fall, but I’m comfortable with that. I shimmy up a crack between two large columns of rock–holding my journal in my mouth, hoping as I climb higher that there is a different path back down. I make it to the top and stand in solitary contentment on the outcropping. Cars drive on the highway far below me, through the valley bottom that has become snow free a month early. Thinking of Elk because, on the way up, I saw their droppings; thinking of Deer–tracks and shit I saw on the game trail; thinking of Cougars because the place is named after them, although that was a long time ago, at a time before most of the valley’s predators had been exterminated. Oregon Grape sprouting up from the interstices between the rocks. Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir growing in defiance of clear cuts. Frog Peak visible to the south. Tiny insects flying in air warmed by the sunshine. The process of photosynthesis around me. Feeling my skin–warm, sweaty, and alive.