Yesterday, I wrote to a friend, was a “wish you were here” day. No one was here but the three of us. We work around the ranch in shirt sleeves, break for lunch on the deck, exercise the horses on dry pasture. Suddenly the silence is broken by the rumble of an engine. A semi truck, delivering a load of pipe. Not very often do we get a big truck like this up here, always bringing with it a big stack full of excitement and expectation. This one came unexpected. We were figuring a day later, were planning on escorting the driver through the snow packed sections and single lane parts of the dirt road below our ranch. He made it on his own. And what often is a long, relieved exhale upon arrival, this driver climbed out of his rig and said, “Wow! What a beautiful drive!” The amazement and appreciation in his wide eyes brought smiles to our faces as we watched him look around in awe at the mighty wilds about us.
Late afternoon, stillness resumes its rightful place on the mountain. The semi growls down the road, the noise slowly fades, we can see the big truck getting smaller and smaller until it finally turns the bend over two miles away, and silence returns.
We head down to towards the Little Cabin and plant trees. My solace and healing, our attempt to give back to the land. The starkness of the open pasture becomes a little softer. The trees are small, young, fragile; they will not all survive; perhaps with the Aspen the roots will take hold, and new sprouts will emerge. Perhaps one day there will be trees tall enough to walk through, to hide in, to provide comfort from the harsh winds and shade the open hillside just a little bit.
We may not remain long enough to see these trees mature. Somehow, it does not matter. We are here now, and while we can, while we remain, we try, we strive, we find a purpose to each day and make the most with what we have, what we create, what we simply make and do. We do not wait for tomorrow.
I remind Forrest that every day is as special as we make it. He is there with us, shovel in hands, digging into the loosened soil, throwing dirt on the roots of these trees, and he is smiling. I believe he is glad to be a part of this gift, regardless of whom the recipient is. If only just the mountain, and that would be enough.
Perhaps his children, or their children after them will one day return. Or a grateful stranger will walk through these trees, then tall and mighty and proud, and wonder if they always were here. We can not help but wonder who will wander through these trees one day and be grateful, perchance smell the sweetness of the sap, languish in their autumn color, listen the magical rustle as the wind dances through the leaves. And as long as we remain, we will try.
An anonymous gift to the mountain. And still we know we take far more than we ever can give.