Sunday, November 06, 2005

Flights of Fancy & Other Musings of the Day

I could say, “Everything I need to know I learned by hiking Green Mountain”. When you hike an ‘urban’ mountain park at sunrise on a regular basis, you encounter many odd things. I could write for weeks about the things that I have seen and experienced while on the trails of this wondrous place. Green Mountain sits or juts out of the earth right between the city of Denver and the hogbacks and plateaus that flank the front range of the Rocky Mountains. What that means is that when I get to the top (6900’ elevation) I can see both the massive sprawl that is Denver and the breathtaking series of mountains leading up to and including the snow covered (at least at this time of year) peaks of the continental divide. Geologically, Green Mountain is unique and I feel that way about it everyday. It belongs to me and yet I am happy to share it with anyone who appreciates it like I do.

This morning I got started a little late for the sunrise at the top but still early enough to be part way up the mountain when it rose. I often see photographers in or around the parking lot. This morning there was a man with a big camera (lots of lenses) and what struck me as odd was that he was standing beside his truck with the door open, the vehicle running and the radio playing loud enough for me to hear as I walked by. So much for relaxing and taking the time to enjoy the sunrise.

As I got to the place on the east side – above the steep part where I was going to stand and meditate, I noticed three men. Two were standing and one was kneeling on a large folded striped blanket and chanting in a foreign language. One of the men said, “God Bless You” as I walked by. I would guess that they were middle-eastern. And guess what – fellow Americans - I wasn’t afraid of them and I don’t think that they were plotting terrorist attacks on the U.S. I think they were up to nothing more sinister than me – practicing some sort of religious ceremony in the presence of the morning sun. I went quite a ways further up the trail to give them their privacy and do my own thing. A few minutes after the sunrise, they were off and down the trail. After I meditated, I opened my eyes to the face of a deer! She was checking me out to make sure it was safe to cross the trail in front of me. There was something magical about waking up from that meditative state of peace, love and energy to see that a deer is looking you in the face!

I was thinking about some of the other comments I have gotten while hiking. The last time I hiked, I was stopped by a young woman and her 4 year old son. They asked if I had seen any rattlesnakes up the trail. I told them with authority that it was the wrong time of day – that they were more likely to see them later in the afternoon. (the mother was relieved – the little boy was disappointed) Do you think I look like an expert on rattlesnakes? Well, actually I do have a bit of experience encountering and luckily avoiding them! Recently, I was coming down this same section of trail quite a ways behind a jogger. I noticed that he had an odd gait for a runner. Right after, I narrowly missed stepping on a coiled rattlesnake. Ahhh! I love the rush of close encounters with a rattlesnake. When I got to the parking lot, I walked over to the jogger with the idea in mind of asking him if he had noticed the snake but before I could get a word out, he asked me if I had seen it! I must have noticed his funny gait just as he was avoiding the snake. When he saw it, it was just crossing the trial – he startled it and that is why it was coiled when I passed by. Oh well, I know some people who won’t hike Green Mountain for fear of the snakes – to me it just adds some excitement and keeps me on my toes (literally!).

Lastly, today after meditating at the top, I heard the whomp whomp whomp of a crow’s wings as he flew right by me. I was thinking what a beautiful sound and also isn’t there some Native American symbolism relating to crows and encountering them? Later at the tower I was gooving to the sounds of Venus Isle when the crow flew by again. He landed on the tower and cackled at me. I decided to turn off the music and see if he was going to enlighten me. I watched him for a few minutes as he jumped around the tower framework and then went back and forth to the ground. I watched his lacquered reflection through the dried forbs on the ground. Finally, I realized he was catching rodents and taking them up to the tower to eat. I could see him pulling apart one small rodent. Even though I count among my friends a man who is vegetarian because he is so incredibly kind-hearted, I felt no malice towards the crow. He is just part of the cycle of nature. All in all, this was a very fine start to the day. I’ve got to look up to see if there is any deep meaning to encountering a crow like this. It was awesome!


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