More Adventures on the Mountain

This morning, yellow violets all the way down the gravel road. Maples seemed to burst overnight and small huddles of meadowrue decorated the pathways along the property. Just before the front entrance to the house, a cluster of white trillium.

I looked for the deer for several minutes upon waking, hoping to see them from my bed, nibbling in the garden down below. I searched again from the porch, thinking a bird’s eye view might help but still, no sign of them. After yoga, I stepped out onto the porch to play banjo and searched again. This time, a quick brush of movement up the south slope about sixty feet from the garden. Then another. I spotted two of them as they spotted me, their oblong noses pointed my direction, ears erect, tails flapping. I could sense their questioning, unable to place the tall figure in the distance of their field of vision. Surely I wasn’t a threat, else they would have bolted, but their curiosity was roused and we stared intently at each other for several minutes. I scanned the area for the third deer and finally caught sight of it. It had climbed further up the slope than its two companions, contently nibbling spring greens from the edge of the gravel driveway. Their size and stature make me think it is the same three deer I saw yesterday morning and already I am eager to greet them tomorrow and see if we cannot start to grow accustomed to each other’s morning routines.

At the Coffeehouse, Grover comes in with a proud smile and the county map in his hand. He points to “our mountain,” as he calls it, then shows me the road leading to his house. “And this here, this one’s your road. Except that driveway of yours isn’t on it, so you’re up even higher here than the line indicates.”

I nod and thank him. “I stopped by the Forest Service headquarters today, Grover. I asked for a topo but their maps are in another office back in Tinyville so I’ll pick it up on my way to work tomorrow. Come back and we’ll take a peek at it.”

“Will do,” he says, adding that know-how nod of his while keeping his gem eyes locked onto mine.

It’s the water that calls to me the most. Where it pours from, what it pours into, and its ultimate course in shaping the land, therefore the roads, therefore the communities, therefore the people. We are a culture and society of names and namers, labeling this and that, finding the source of things or becoming the source of other things. Springs abound on this mountain and the slopes of Roan form an entire watershed. I want to know what feeds the life here, how it nurtures its own forest and feeds a community of agriculture and small businesses down below. I want to know.

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