For many years now, this mountain outside my window has been my religion. It has stood as a temple, often behind mist, and my heart has gone out to it on those days I needed reassurance. Like the presence of any holy spirit, it has been a guide. When I had to leave recently, on an emergency trip out of state, I thought I would miss the mountain, in the same way I expected to miss my husband. However, similar to seeing him again, breathing him in, I looked out at the mountain upon returning, and felt that the mountain had after all gone with me while I was away. It is a strange thing, and maybe selfish; but it feels rooted in me.
I was not happy enough to cry about being back yet I instead found stillness. Here, I feel as close to a sense of peace as possible, and maybe that is even better than crying for joy.
When we first found our house, I truly believed that angels, or some helping spirit, had led the way. It happened quite by accident, and a great rainbow shone over the road, with an end in the glistening snow. I felt blessed, almost rescued, to have been given exactly what I needed, to calm my heart, to center my own spirit. It was a beginning, a renewal, and the mountain was a presence that in leaving me breathless brought me clarity.
Now, when I think of moving, when other places seem to be drawing me, it is this land the mountain was born from that I cannot imagine leaving. I have somehow become a part of this place.
I have followed the tracks of animals through the snow, watched the return of the great blue Herons, and waited for the brief fall visits of Canadian Geese. I have listened in the dark to the symphony of bullfrogs that shakes the night air, and to the sudden yelps and howls of coyotes, that end as abruptly as they begin.
The simple magic of nature awes and fills me here, as I witness a bear, disturbed from its winter sleep by out-of-season hunters, running as swiftly as a horse across the fields. The tracks of a catamount, dragging prey it collected off the frozen water of the pond, are testament to the power of nature, of which we are a part.
Our road is a winding dirt road, not remote but challenging, and our house is the only one upon it. Around it winds a river that takes a rest in a pond across from the house and continues down the steep and turning hill. Here in the pools that form from its flow, I have given prayer to mother earth, have whispered my thanks and my yearnings, and have cried my tears upon her. She has embraced and inspired me.
This is where I find my deepest feelings. When my own spirit feels like flying, it is through the sky over mountain, caressing hill and valley, looking out over treetop. Even in dreams, I soar and dive, swoop close to the ground, and feel my spirit uniting with the spirit of the Earth.
Daily, I give thanks. It is an exchange of love that illuminates my soul. It breathes within me and shows me what is holy. I see the beginning of all things, and the truth of what I am. Echoed by the mountain and the still water of the pond that reflects it, my soul finds peace and happiness, joy and fulfillment. This is my religion.