It looked like there had been a battle royale of foul weather right before we got there, with the wind and the white dirt fighting for dominance over the mountains. To Mom’s delight, it seemed like the wind had won.
Can you imagine if Aaron Burr won instead of Jefferson? That would sure be weird. Then the mountain would just be 4 guys, 3 of whom happened to be presidents. Or, what if it was George Washington, Harriet Tubman, Joan of Arc, and Alanis Morrisette? People would have been SO confused until 1995!
The weather hung around us in a cold, wet fog that hid all the scenery like a bathroom mirror after a shower. I had to come close enough to sniff the rocks to examine their character. They were craggy like the face of a human with bad skin, and had shiny and sparkly bits in them that you could see only at just the right angle, like Clint Eastwood's heart of gold.
As we got closer to the trail, the ground suddenly rose up into steep, sharp rocks covered in toupees of forest, with desperate trees hanging on for their lives. “Mom! It looks like a painted teapot!” I said, looking up, up, up out the windows. “Are we in China?!”
Just at that moment, a man-Oscar in running clothes with hiking chopsticks came bounding up the trail behind us, running with the same rockethorse enthusiasm as me. He had the kind of shapely butt that tights were invented for, and made a mountain man beard look tidy just by opening his toothpaste-ad smile in the middle of it.
“No, Mom, this is awesome,” I corrected her. “It’s better than awesome. It’s… There’s no word for it in your language for how awesome it is.” So I barked the word in my language, and then did a cartwheel followed by a sprint to show her what it meant.
Concentrating is like an adventure where nothing happens, and the more you do of it the more you want to tell someone about it and the less there is to tell. I guess that’s the difference between an adventure and what Mom calls a "pain in the ass.”
I was sniffing for critters in the white bushes when I heard Mom whisper-scream, “OH MY GOD!” and then burst out laughing. When I found her, she was laughing at a man who was dressed like a bush and standing still as a statue. He was carrying a lot of luggage with him, including one of the long sticks called a "gun."
I had never understood why humans collect things just for looking at, but as I looked at the tiny home wearing a hat of rampaging flame, I thought I understood how a building tells the story of the person inside. It’s a little bit like how the desert and mountains tell their story through cliffs, canyons, rocks and rivers both by what is missing and what is left behind.