Awakening on the Perpendicular Trail

Awakening on the Perpendicular Trail

I woke up on the perpendicular trail;
though I meant to stay beneath the blanket streaming videos.
Whose idea was this anyway?

Golden Gem. Photo by Tim Graves. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/
Golden Gem. Photo by Tim Graves. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/

I should turn around;
I need the rest.
Maybe just another switchback or two.

That obvious rock moved as I stepped over it;
I’ve been toddling stably for five & one-half decades.
Why else would I have fallen?

I should turn back;
the dirt on my knee will stain without prompt pre-treatment.
Maybe just to the clearing up ahead.

Breathe in, breathe out, I’m really worn out from the week.
Those things! Those emails and phone calls and screen work
will need a well-rested me tomorrow.

Yellow Meadow. Photo by Tim Graves. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/
Yellow Meadow. Photo by Tim Graves. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/

I should turn back;
wearing myself out today will only further exhaust. 
It’s probably an old athlete’s tale that moving muscles leads to healing.

Whoa!

The leprechaun didn’t notice the hole in his bag;
He never would’ve left that golden mushroom,
the one that rolled out and landed beside the trail.

Wow!

That class trip during the beige of winter didn’t pack it in & out;
I guess five-year-olds can’t be expected to know this would happen.
Their crayolas have sprouted in the warm sunshine.

Mt. Adams from the summit of Dog Mountain. Photo by Tim Graves. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/
Mt. Adams from the summit of Dog Mountain. Photo by Tim Graves. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/

But I should turn back; 
all I have is a trail bar and an apple; that’s not much lunch.
Maybe just a bit longer.

Purples, yellows, whites, and
pinks sparkle beside the trail.
Cyan has chased away even the fluffy clouds,
And branches have captured the cumulus marshmallows.

Maybe just another switchback;
maybe just up to the clearing. 
A little more trail bar is all the energy I need.

Snow peaks beckon:
“Come peer at me from within a floral blanket;
and I’ll stream something better than video.”

Maybe just for a little while;
as long as I’ve come this far.

Though muscles ache and skin has pinked,
awe overtakes my soul; and
I awake three thousand feet above the azure river.

Perpendicular Trail. Photo by Tim Graves. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/
Perpendicular Trail. Photo by Tim Graves. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/

license cc

Related Posts & Photos

Dog Mountain, April 2015 (Flickr)
Wiped Memories, June 6, 2014
Perseverance, June 10, 2014
Dog Mountain, June 2014 (Flickr)

The More Difficult Path

I was a quarter mile into the trail and began to doubt my choice. Though not as steep nor long lasting as the Starvation Ridge trail across the river, I wondered why I’d chosen this path when an easier, more scenic route to Dog Mountain’s summit was available.

Step by step. Forward and upward I walked.

A mile and a quarter into the trail, I thought about those who eased my journey by maintaining this well-used trail. Though rated the more difficult, the center trail is carefully graded and kept free of creeping vines and underbrush. No fallen trees lay across my journey to the summit. Perhaps, I was not alone on my journey after all.

Step by step. Forward and upward I walked.

I was two and a quarter miles into the trail and my legs ached. I could feel my heart racing and I began to ration my water so that I could make it up and back well-hydrated. And I wondered about those who didn’t choose life’s more difficult path but found themselves on it nonetheless.

How does the journey feel to them? I chose this path; I could’ve turned around. Others struggle along paths with few options. They’re either left behind or continue on unmaintained trails covered with poisonous vines and fallen trees.

Step by step. Forward and upward.

At the fork, I stared at the sign. Feeling confused, I pulled out my map. I sat on a nearby log to contemplate my next choice. Turning right would be a scenic path down to the trailhead where my journey began. It’d be easy and I was tempted. Turning left would be another mile or more to the summit.

Sitting. Contemplating. I rested.

Hearing voices I turned to see two well-dressed, balding men turn right and follow the scenic path to the trailhead. As they passed me, they nodded politely but kept talking to each other about fiscal planning, equity funds, and investments.

Their words jarred me. Their talk of money in the midst of the forest cut into me like a blasphemous knife. This is a holy place!  This is sacred ground where I journey to commune with my God. They defiled it with their fiscal religion. Standing up, I continued my journey to the summit.

Step by step. Forward and upward I walked.

At two and three quarters the trail grew narrow. Seven foot shrubs encroached upon the trail on my left, on my right, and on my left. Their branches reached out to touch my face while their roots softened the ground beneath my feet making each step a challenge. This path is not for the easily dissuaded.

Step by careful step. Forward and upward I walked.

At three and two-quarter miles the tall shrubs gave way. Rock faces beckoned me to climb further to the summit. As I took the final steps to the summit, the trail opened up to a vista of the blue waters below, the green mountains beyond, and the azure skies above. Reaching the summit, I was joined by Mts. Hood and St. Helens. The very breath of God danced on the mountain high above daily life.

Prayer by prayer. Still and calm I listened.

Sitting in the warm sunshine, the winds whispered in my ear pointing out that as I climbed to the summit I was never alone. As I breathed heavily on the steep inclines, the very breath of God entered my lungs and flowed through my blood. Entering my heart, the divine breath reminds me that we are all one. When any of my kindred struggle or weep, my muscles ache and my eyes tear.

Still and calm. Prayer by prayer I know why I chose the more difficult path.

I travel the more difficult path because the One who connects us all calls my name and beguiles me. The One who created each of us with a sprinkle of divinity and a dash of dirt desires us to live into our shared lineage. The One who loves without hesitation, created us as one family.

All photos by Tim Graves. Some rights reserved.