where the writers are
Maidens Mountain

I.              Lunar Phases

I had my period with the full moon, the light bleeding through my bedroom window waking my ovaries with a fever. You might have too, a woman in a dorm room above me.  Nothing is deeper down than the sub-basement. Kaleigh, a new transfer and friend of a friend of a friend, stuck her head out the window to alert me earlier today. "Hey, Maggie! I can see you from the pot."

Kaleigh reminds me of Lauren, a woman who I lived with and love. We lived like sisters on a Mountain, isolated and giggling. We drew out the line between friend and sister on the floor of Emerson House, then ripped the tape. Three of us opened up our shirts and felt the breasts of our sisters. Those same three sisters took off our clothes in a public building, after hours, and danced like wild hyenas to "Obsessed with You" Orion Experience. We three projected our bisexual feelings that we felt on our straight but not narrow boss. Tessa, the happily heterosexual sister, but not narrow, was a little annoyed with our explorations at time. But once when the entire nonprofit was off the top of the mountain, except for the boss in bed early, we all four went out to Meditation Rock, a holy, spiritually grounding place.

It was a full moon, and we all stripped down to our scant layers, or beyond. We moon bathed on the highest location in hundreds of miles. We all were sure to let both sides of our body, all sides actually, be shined on by the holy light. Back in our house, there was this time when we all grew bitter towards one another. Moon to moon, we ran back to Emerson House. I do not remember the season or the feeling of the air. Part of me thinks it must have been cold out.

I wish I was more of a mentor for us then. Of Dylan, Tessa, Lauren and I, I was the oldest. Why was I not stronger? That time was my time of coming out into the world.

I took a risk then and moved from being in a condition of disability and identity in disability to pure empowerment.  But it is constant work.  I say this because if the world caves in, I am the one who needs to prop it up. I am my healer. I am my enabler. I am the one who must love me before you will. I am the one who must say "I can" when I go to climb a mountain and all I hear is "I can't". I said once and I repeat, "A girl climbed a mountain. “I can't” said the girl. “I can't, I can't,” said the girl. “Can't,” said the mountain and the valleys below. Later, a woman climbed a mountain. I can - said the girl. “I can,” said the woman. “Can,” said the mountain and the valleys below."

I am following the waters up and down the mountains. Some day, I will sail away into the ocean. For now, I think I will skinny dip in memories. I will skip through the shallows. Float downstream, bumping the algae covered moss.

 

 II.            Run, My Blood

 

An outdoors walk at the mountain, though it exhausts the physical body, is the medicine needed for deepening the consciousness and soul. And because this forest has not been cut for hundreds of years, it makes me think of a human retirement home, of vibrant people, who have had years to work on their personal perfection.

 

It was one of those downhill walks to the point where I turned around and came back. I walked slowly down the hill, taking pictures, aware that my feet were walking on slippery soil. Walking back up the hill my knees and back began to hurt. I stopped to rest on a nice granite rock. Then resuming my walk, I noticed that my uphill struggle at least was firmer on my footing.

 

I can watch a million natural things looking out a window or sitting on a rocky cliff. But walking my blood is as fluid as my body is, navigating through the world.

 

Right now I feel I have been allowed to absorb the peace that is here in nature. It is so important that I feel this way now and then, for my mental and physical health. It is a feeling called exhilaration and a place of deep connection with space.

 

My window here faces the North and the sun hits my eyes. My whole body is warm as I write this, with an emphasis on my blood, which can become stagnant. I watched a squirrel and a bird out the window with a feeling that this is how wildlife always feels.

 

I often have sat in a city scene counting down the days before I can exit those cubicles and walk in the light with nature.

 

Now it seems less important that I am struggling for space or to feel content with the people I know on The Mountain. More important to me is that my blood is pumping. I am alive and excited for life. And I am living in an ecosystem of old growth trees, and wildlife that enjoys the benefits.

 

When I came here I looked at the view. When I was here for a while my camera zoomed in to capture the image of my feet. Finally I am looking at a bigger picture, and since the picture is so big, and to allow each creature a moment to blow in the wind in its own way, I finally realize that I don't have time on this earth for complaining about others, when I could use my time to feel my blood pump in the beauty of the day.

 

III.         Feelings on the Mountain

 

I was not certain why I felt so wretched but I did. I have been on this mountain for four days now. My initial reaction was utter joy, exhilaration, and gratitude. Why would an organization have an opportunity like this for a place like me? What wonderful thing have I done to find myself here with the gods up on this mountain?

 

Last night I began to worry about things. My mood pendulum began to swing in the direction of sadness. By noon today I was fully aware of my concerns, my emotional vulnerability. It was rooted in my concern that my identity is not being properly represented here because it is a new environment. The first impression I make is always a bit off, or drastically different from my actual self.

 

Two of the other interns were bold and mature and lead enough to reach out to me and ask me if I needed support simply because they saw me withdrawing. They talked with me and it worked!

 

I am starting to believe now that just through their open listening and genuine understanding, maybe, just maybe, I can learn to be even more genuine here than I ever have been able.

 

IV.          Mediation Rock

 

Here I sit on Meditation Rock.  I write this in my head, an attempt to describe the view into the valley. My eyes fill with tears; I am thankful for this life this beauty, this peace that roles here with the hills. Instantly I feel an answer to my thanks, a feeling that gushes through me. Nature is not saying "you are welcome," but "con mucho gusto," a Spanish expression.  "With much pleasure." This is the first time I have not needed a translator.

 

How can I paint a landscape with words?

 

My eyes, my gloved hands, my moist tongue, my damp nose, and my ears come together to find the beginnings of an image. It is the dee dee dee my mother and sister say is the song of the chickadee. It is the drip of the melting snow and the simultaneous soft drop of the falling snow.

 

Exterior to interior senses work backwards. We use sight more than any other sense unless we are blind. But our vision is the least connected to our core. Feeling, the neglected sense, the sense that is evolving out of us, rises up on an occasion like this, not wanting to be left behind.

 

And so it is not the long visual distance between me and the lake at the bottom, the tree, the winding road. Instead it is the sound of this distance, impossible for sound to carry between the mountain top and bottom. The sound and the feeling of stillness in the air ignite.  Peace enters in to my body's home.

 

Suddenly now my tongue feels moist on arriving but soon is dry and parched with the mountain air. I am always prepared to consume water. My nose smells the damp crisp smell of snow on the ground, contrasting with the cold liquid snow that falls on my forehead crowning me, or making me a unicorn.

 

And finally my eyes are clear of the tears of gratefulness enough to notice the 400 year old to dwarf oak tree to my left, and the 500 year old oak on the slope. My eyes avail themselves to dart over the valley, to cross the hills of this Little Scaly Mountain.

 

I breathe it in for a long time the feeling of communion with nature. I feel her gracefulness, her with much pleasure.  Dee dee dee.  “Con mucho gusto”.   Then I rise and step away.