after a night of somewhat low-quality sleep and aftermath of a performance anxiety, i set out for a walk this morning. no where in particular. letting my foot to land where they need to, as long as i dont fall of, it would be alright. and i thought perhaps i will head to the silence of the morning mountains, as it was set ablaze for no longer than 5 minutes, inverted cloud and fire. burn burn burn. while everyone's either burying their faces in the pillows for that extra 5 minutes of sleep or busy watching out for their own steps and graveyard holes of various sorts, the mountain burned, as if it laughed at the small troubles of mankind, always there, renewed by the morning. as the glory of morning will not be fazed by a simple dilemma about- daily musings.
somehow monkey ears needed stimulation not rest. quick turn to the south. following the lowland trails, down and roundabouts the curved paths, now covered with fallen leaves, like the golden brick road to oz, but even more magical- because it wont last much longer. crunching leaves and soft mosses, springy and forgiving on the rigid legs, body that has been stretched and mortified in funny positions and situations. petrified by fear, worries and the feeling of inadequacy. the earth kindly took the hardened knees and ankles, soften them up as i trudge up on it, not as a piano monkey, not as a woman, but as just another child of this earth, returning for a small period of relief, forgiveness- largely self- prescribed and a simple yearning to return, no reasons attached.
then comes the bow fall/river. the ice of recent cold magic is long gone and the river flows with vigor and power. at the edges of the water, where the big claws of massive glaciers which are long gone, there are small pockets of collective maelstroms. spraying grey mist. quite small, yes, however, if you chuck something light, it will disappear, to the bottom of the rocks, pulverized, dancing a mad gigue till the body is frayed and broken, multiple pieces, used, then spitted back out on the far end of the stream, where the once consuming water is quiet and calm, a small brook. but still with that turquoise fire within- dont look at me lightly, i am powerful enough to pulverize your spine in seconds, cold enough to freeze you through the entire winter, to pull you down in a second and bash your weak skull on the great bones of the earth.
scrambling near water is a quite a different experience from scrambling in mountains, just because of one primary difference: water moves. the bow fall, though it does not have heights, it makes some massively impressive sounds. with its mists and completely opaque white scrolling water, i know it would be a no problem whatsoever for me to slip once, land first with face then get mangled. the mountain is quite, it is still and it lets you breath and create your own rhythm. water, as you get closer to it, it will either cheer you further or break your ego. the first shard of fear you feel near your heart, the game is over. that's when one is advised to stop the scramble, recompose and return to leveled ground safety. once you lose confidence, the nature will no longer be accommodating to you. you decided to distrust it and yourself, it suddenly will become a menacing being, powerful enough to crush you in a second. if i were to fall into the river, there'll be not much negotiation. i lose.
and for some reason, probably because of the aftermath of yesterday, i felt the need to prove something- to myself, that i can scramble that hillside, to the great water. for those in the area, this is the area right across from the banff springs hotel, silly steep dirt/rock side down to the actual bow fall water. it's tricky because the rocks, sand-based, arent all that stable- they are pron to breaking and the recent heat have loosen the soil, which makes it a good time to slip and fall.
see going up is always easy. it's going down that is hard. a hero is not remembered by his rise to fame, but of exit. to head down, to follow gravity with grace, it's a fairly tall order. however, once you let 'it' take over, the rhythm of it will carry safely. for me, the easier way to head down on a scramble like that is to have your back on the earth and you dont ever step down, but find points to anchor your weight with your feet, place, then push up against the ground, your hands are just for guidance. rather than looking down over the shoulder, you face the downhill front-to ground. each step is an active step, not riding down with weight, but to support your own weight with each step, pushing up, balancing. rush. heartbeating. waterspray on your face.
funny point: i was kinda pondering what i should do next- as my feet were barely resting on soft stones that seems weaker than i thought. sprayed over the dirt hill, i wondered. am i going to let this cautiousness to turn into fear, then eat and spit me out? fingers dug into the dirt, i looked across. then found a small group of people (three), who were waving. and i really wasnt in the position to wave. ha ha. they prob thought i was rude. the water somehow became less supportive, if i may say- faster, louder, shaking the ground, and oh all i need is one short slip of the foot, ride and hurl self into the river bottom, crushed skull and marrow. lovely.
and this is why i dont like taking people. being in such situation with others around is well, unlikely. let me get self into trouble. not a dire one, but enough to make myself think.
eventually you decide: i thought hey ive done sgurr alsdair in melting march. ive done pic du canigou of pyrenees. ive been to monte coldai and monte civetta. ive climbed the frozen waters of ontario north. ive trekked across the vast northen iceland of canadian winter.
i can do this.
so you do. then it is all the sudden easy. your feet are awake, your nose, eyes, hands, everything. your body molds to the geography around you, your limbs push and pull with the ground, moving the centre of the weight with grace otherwise not possible- esp. with possibly threatening waterfall with its groundshaking noise. you lose time. you breath in dirt and mist. skin is cold as the earth- it no longer burns with icy prick. by the time i reached the water, i was teary. but it didnt matter. there was so much more water anyways it seemed almost natural to let it go. red nosed and all. the flow the noise it swallowed a small animal suffering into its own and let it flow away. gone.
that was my morning. in solitude. i faced the river and decided to be a simple child returning to the womb, where if i let go, i will be reabsorbed and nourished for. i needed to do it for no other reason than being compelled to do so. and now my body is loose (except one kink on my right shoulder blade- that one is hiding. donno where exactly), my lungs are free and head much clearer. and when i looked last time to say goodbye to river mother for today, it was not a menacing fall, but of quite brook-like river, moving slow and assured.