I have come to know this mountain at whose ankles I rest. I could describe its formation in geological terms. But that would be window dressing on a mannequin. It’s eroded parts give nourishment to a variety of plants. Crevasses and shelves provide nesting sites for many birds and shelter for numerous animals. The skirted slopes were once part of those majestic knobs and angular protuberances that impart its silhouette in the dusk. Now, they are wild finger painting down its sides.
I listen to the rhythmic push of a raven’s wings as it flies up to the top to meet its mate. The pair of Great Horned owls hoot from their nest on a craggy outcrop. Creosote and yucca dot the slope where the rock slides haven’t taken them down with them. Quail peep, chatter and scrabble like little children. The mountain may be asleep, but it teems with life all it’s own.
This mountain has become a friend and it’s stories sing me lullabies. A small canyon is a door to a bowl. To walk into it is like entering the jaws of a monster while at the same time cuddling in its embrace. Climbing up into a saddle opens up to a wild view of the desert floor and more mountains beyond. Living here with this mountain is like waking up to a lover by your side. Accepting all its bad moments with the comfort of its arms.
Desert mountains are naked compared to those up north where they are clothed in furry trees. Here, they are raw and truthful in their nakedness, a directness that can incite awe or terror. Perhaps that is why I like them: they are bold and honest. Or perhaps because I am like a magnet, drawn to their ruggedness and plain beauty. Probably because I, too, am a creature of mountains. Destined to live on their slopes, at their feet, and in their confidence. With the owls, the ravens, the fox, and the yucca.
I call this Home.