"To be a true westerner, you have to have spiritual DNA." -James St. Goddard, Browning, Montana

Mountains on My Mind (From the Journal)

The mountain was nondescript and its name if it had one meaningless. I was sitting on a high-elevation ridge, below tree line but above most of the trees. Across the valley another range was half-enshrouded in clouds but also reaching toward small patches of denim-blue sky.

I was sitting in a happy drift of light, fluffy, freshly-fallen snow, and the world’s hard edges had vanished–tree branches, mountaintops, bushes, the sharp sound of the wind and me–all round and gray and smothered and soft.

To the west where the clouds’ heavy blanket had first begun to tatter the sun dropped into a growing tear that revealed the light blue beyond. It was low, both far to the south and far to the west, and it cast long shadows across the rolling drifts.

The sun was edgeless, too. It was soft and long and gold–really gold–and as the minutes stretched and the light spread like a growing rumor across the valley I felt the heavy weight of the storm begin to lift. It was easy to see, but there was something invisible, too: something like falling in love or discovering joy, when all the world makes sense, and difficult decisions are easy–if only for a while.

Having spent all day in the heavy depths of the storm, I was tired, but the storm’s flat, blue heaviness had passed, and the world was spun of gold. I was in love. © Greg Stahl