Posted by: highmountainmuse | June 3, 2009

Reaching out

In the parks above our ranch, looking back towards Simpson Mountain.

In the parks above our ranch, looking back towards Simpson Mountain.

Life is busy now.  Days are full and never long enough. Light lasts late and we strive to have our energy keep up with the extended days. No time to write lists, we go straight into action each day, do what we can get done; we know we will catch up one day and can make a list then, so much shorter it will be, of the tasks that will remain undone.

It is a time of growth, new life, lush pastures and blooming hillsides, of melting high ground and abundant rain. Of projects buried all winter now exposed before us and racing ahead for us to keep up, to catch up.  All before the onset of summer, when the heat weighs heavy and slows us down, and days are filled with the unhurried easy work of… chatting!

I am still working on the art of small talk. It has never come natural to me. Our dinner conversations with the three of us are, more often than not… quiet.  Yet I care so much for our guests, and have been trying to learn throughout the years to overcome the shyness that follows me from the simple silence of my winters.  Such a drastic change the seasons bring!

To the “neighbors” I have found here, from Vermont, New Hampshire, North Carolina, West Virginia, Texas, Oregon… we may find it hard to keep up at such times, to check in to see how spring is progressing in your back yard, on your mountain, near your river, at your kitchen table… but I believe we have learned to care.  We know there is a time to reach out, a time to withdraw, a time to push, and a time to let it go.  If we are too busy to write, we know winter will come again… none of us can hold back the change of seasons.  None of us want to. It gives me great comfort to know you are there.  I hope it does for you as well.  I know of no one who is truly alone.

This season challenges our time, how we use it, manage it, struggle to keep up with it, and find enough sleep after our bodies crave it so powerfully at the end of each day. At this stage of my life, I can always strive to do more, be more, give more.  There is little satisfaction in achievement.  We know it is temporary.  There is more to strive for daily. New goals to set after each one is reached.  No matter how simple each seems to be, it is a matter of forward motion, which is something we can not deny in our lives, except perhaps for the very young, and the very old.

As a woman, I give. It is my nature, and I am not complete without.  The need to give is great, it is deep, it is old.  It is part of what defines me, part of what includes me with other women, from the beginning of time…

I write this on one hand, and realize how wrong I am to generalize on the other.  How many women have I met that still prefer to take?  How many men do I know that give more of themselves than many women do?

The mountain does not give.  She remains firm, indifferent. She does not wrap me in her arms but allows me to follow the path up her sides.  She does not sooth me with sweet words, but allows the birds to sing me a secret lullaby, early in the darkest hours of morning, with the first hint of fading stars. She does not shelter me from the elements but allows them to flow past and if I watch, I too can learn to let the seasons roll over me as they do to her.  And somehow remain the same.

But nothing really stays the same, now does it?



  1. A page of words, a novel’s worth of meaning…

    I think you touched on one of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned from Nature: the idea that there is so much cyclical change in the world; the seasons, the balance of life and death, even the length of the days change. However there is a fundemental nature that remains the same.

    And so it is true for us as well – our lives change, people float in and out, we move around, we grow and learn, but we are who we are, inside. That is as solid as the mountian, if we know who we truly are…

  2. You are wise, Maggie. Sometimes I write and am reaching for an answer that I feel but just can’t quite grasp. Just beyond my reach. Or understanding. And then you present it, so clear and simply, and there it is, resting in my open hands.
    Thank you.

  3. I’m not too sure about wise, I just am… But I’m glad that I can offer you a small gift in return for all the ones that you share with us…

  4. Yes, true wisdom…

  5. I find that the face to face time that comes with the end of school, and the numerous events, and that comes with students/parents/family of people who are coming up to my place now, and the on-the-street interactions that normally Jamal would face running errands to be joyful, and lovely, but difficult sometimes. The sound of the birds, the quiet sound of hard work, and the cacophony of the chickens…that’s peaceful to me.

    As one of your ‘neighbors’, I am glad to be able to join you for a cup of coffee and a sit down…even if it’s less frequent than winter’s daily read.

  6. Wendy,
    Perfectly said… perfectly felt the same here.
    The big world becomes a small world some days.

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