Current work of members of the Memoir Writers Group at the Bloomfield Township Public Library Spring 2015
Aspen in the summer engages all the senses. The air seems to be sparkling with freshness, so cool and clean. The wild flowers along the meadows and mountain trails are bursting with the colors of the rainbow and the town still has the hint of a mountain village, satisfying me, a mountain hiker who has dreams of adventure.
It’s an early morning in June and I’m filled with energy. I don’t know that what lies ahead will require much more tenacity, willpower and determination than energy.
Our destination is a high pass called Buckskin. The trail begins gently winding through Masroon Bells Meadow, one of the most awesome trailheads on the planet. As I cross shallow streams and look up, I see myself surrounded by mountains crowned with caps of snow and am filled to the brim with all the beauty I can absorb.
I am silently thanking Mother Nature for this wondrous gift of beauty.
An hour or two goes by and the trail starts to rise. I begin to lose the spring in my step. I am now trudging along as it is becomes steep. We stop and sit along the trail to eat the lunches we’ve packed. I‘m eating my sandwich of choice, which is peanut butter, and then of course chocolate. My pockets are filled with GORP (good old raisins and peanuts) to munch along the way. We start off again, hiking in single file, moving at our own pace. Sheldon comes running back from the lead to tell us that a bear has crossed the trail in front of him. We are startled, and begin to ring our Bear Bells as we continue. We are approaching the tree line, the forest has thinned and the trail is no longer softly covered with pine needles.
I am talking to Mother Nature again, not silently anymore and no longer with gratitude!
The trail has become rocky and difficult to follow. I mentally pat myself on the back for bringing my heavy hiking boots. We are on switchbacks; it is punishing. I’m no longer able to stand upright. I’m bending low and using my hands to grasp onto boulders. Being the last of our small group of four, I can’t see my hiking partners. I gather my courage and glance upwards hoping not to lose my balance. I’m really frightened to fall, it’s now dangerous. No one is in sight.
So once again I call on Mother Nature. “Please allow me to reach the summit! I promise will once again be grateful! “
The sun is blindingly bright as I look skyward but there are ominous clouds in the distance foretelling the usual afternoon thunderstorm. At last there is a dip in the path and I’m able to stand upright and not lose my balance. I’m almost there. I see the others. The summit is a beautiful plateau, overlooking the valley and lakes beyond. As I approach I can’t believe the scene! There they are, talking and laughing as if they are at a cocktail party and I feel as if I have just endured some sort of Outward Bound survival test. They finally notice me and quickly gather around, showering me with smiles, hugs, and congratulations. They all share their struggle to reach this glorious place.
We are at 13,000 feet and I admit that the climb was worth the unbelievable effort. Below the ridge the spectacular sight of snow capped Maroon Bells, the crystal lakes and surrounding meadows are all we could ever wish for. I inhale a lifetime worth of beauty.
Thank you Mother Nature.
Dandelion, Dandelion, you are strong and stubborn,
standing on my lawn and smiling at me as if you were in control.
I want to kill you and dump you in a trash can,
but you refuse to go.
You die today but live tomorrow.
Prevailing in wind and rain.
You nod at me like a king after the sun has crowned you in gold.
You order me to surrender and I do.
I lose the battle in despair
but soon you cheer me up.
Starting your day with fresh thoughts and new dreams,
you continue upward.
I try and
become strong and stubborn like you.
Theresa Shen 4/22/2015