The Wednesday Word: 28 July 2021

People have always climbed mountains to gain wisdom. Perhaps it is the embodied metaphor of height, perhaps the clear, thin air. Maybe it is merely the belief that there is meaning in the arduous task itself. But I think it might also be true that mountains offer most people their only escape from others. Mountains grant us seclusion and silence along with the inspiring views. Mountain sojourns give us time for reflection in a space that engages all the senses. We gain perspective with the heights.

Looking down from above makes our problems seem smaller.

I’ve never lived comfortably except nestled up against a reassuring mass of stone. Some people go to the ocean to feel the majesty of this earth and our rather small role in that pageant. I climb until I’m above the tree-line. Just me and the wind and the ancient granites. There is no better sense of constancy, of continuity. These things have always been and will always be. I go to the hills to remember this, to regain that sense of stability, to understand that whatever we do is insignificant and will be shrugged away like snow in spring.

August is a time for climbing mountains, seeking that extra bit of clarity. It is a time to face into the wind and let the sun burn away all the confusion. It is a time to reflect as summer tumult turns inward to autumn. It is a time to see further, to taste winter in the thin air. It is a panoramic time.

In these days to come, I will be walking the hills and speaking with the stones. I hope you find that clear vision and firm foundation as well.

Wednesday Word

for 28 July 2021

mountain

You can respond in the comments below or make a Twitter post to the Wednesday Word. Either way, begin your response with #mountain. Your response can be anything made from words. I love poetry, but anything can be poetic and you needn’t even be limited to poetics. An observation, a story, a thought. Might even be an image — however, I am not a visual person, so it has to work harder to convey meaning. In the spirit of word prompts, it’s best if you use the word; but I’m not even a stickler about that. Especially if you can convey the meaning without ever touching the word.

If responding in Twitter, you are limited to the forms of Twitter. I would prefer that there be no threads because that is difficult. So if you have something long, post it in the comments below. That said, please don’t go too long. Keep it under 2000 words. I’m not going to count, but I’m also not promising to read a novel. Unless it’s really good!

If I receive something particularly impressive, I’ll post it next week. If not, well, that’s fine too. I know you all are busy. But if you’ve read this far, then I’ve made you think about… mountains.

elemental

there she crouches in the dawn-light
rosy cloud-kissed, radiant flame-bright
curled in slumber, dreaming far-sight
of the elemental earth

we ascend her airless paths
seeking visions of the stars
prising prudence from these earth-bones
pebbled words to gird the bards

trodding ancient folkways
begging boons of stalwart stone
raise ourselves above these stories
take this crown to be our own

and she mumbles through the ages
granite wisdom for stone sages
crystal dreams for craggy mages
from this elemental earth

©Elizabeth Anker 2021


1 thought on “The Wednesday Word: 28 July 2021”

  1. I lived the first 25 years of my life in a valley surrounded by #mountains in southern California. Family vacations meant camping in the mountains. Seeing snow meant mountains. Even at the beach, the mountains were always at my back. I loved mountains.

    Then I moved to Minneapolis. There are no mountains here and at first I missed them very much. Mountains, it turned out, hold up the sky, serve as wayfinders, and distance markers. Without mountains, the sky presses down, the wind knocks me over, it is impossible to tell how far away a storm is. I am exposed and realize how insanely small I am.

    But now that I have been here for longer than I lived in a valley, I have grown to love the wide open horizon. I have learned to find my way without mountains; to bend in the wind, to tell distance, and embrace the sky. Instead of feeling exposed, I feel wide open. I have learned endurance from the sturdy trees and grown deep roots like the prairie grasses.

    Now, when I return to the valley to visit family, I feel restless and find it hard to breathe because the mountains are looming and I cannot feel the sky. I am still fond of mountains; they helped raise me, but I do not miss them.

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