How quickly spring comes and plays her magic on the mountain. Winter comes and stays for months; summer just for weeks. Spring and fall are not seasons of staying, but of changing, of transformation, a quiet but rapid revolution of the land.
Into the woods I wandered, hearing the crunch of dried leaves and branches fallen from last year, having been hidden for months, now dry beneath the newly exposed ground. The rivulets that were rushing throughout every low and steep draw last week have already come to an end, yet the creek flows heavy and strong with the melt off now from the snow covered peaks reaching well above tree line.
Even in the high country where the snow has cleared the path for the new growth, a faint but unmistakable green tint is visible. How quickly the changes must progress here, with the fleeting time frame. The succession of the seasons runs by so quickly, and rests only for a deep breath in the warmth of summer with the lazy long sunlit evenings; and then for a while, a deep sleep after the snow has come and covered the mountain with the gentle, calming blanket of winter. Otherwise, she moves rapidly, rushing out the cycle of life in such a brief but wildly fertile spell.
I found a single patch of iris already putting out their buds. A promise of life, a promise of the burst of color, of the short but intense battle to bloom in this high and mighty land.
Lost in the whirlwind of the changing seasons, part of the movement and flow, no time to settle into stagnant waters. Suddenly September was within me again. I felt the same sunlight on my cheeks, the crisp chill in the air, the excitement and anticipation of the change of seasons. How odd to forget which way we were changing, which direction we flow.
I daydreamed of the elk, of the journeys and adventures that hunting season takes us on, as I hiked by a little grove that is often the last place we say farewell to our neighborhood elk each December, before the snow drives the last of them to lower ground.
And just then, before me, a crashing through the trees revealed three or four elk, red as the bark of the spruce trees in the fresh new summer coats. Some of the first back to their mountain, waiting to be in that sweet grass on the other side of the trail.