where the wild heart is

did you know that jeffrey pine sap tastes exactly like limoncello? jeffrey pine with its sweet-soft butterscotch-vanilla-maple syrup bark, with its fibonacci-perfect cones, with mountain air rushing like impossible water through its needles?

did you know that, in a circle of these trees, you are more at home than in any house?

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I can’t speak for you, but to me a day on this wild earth, moving with these mountains, is moment after moment of marvel (interrupted in intervals by sheer awe).

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so many moments, following each other toward night like the moon follows the sun west: the tasting of the pine sap. the bleached antlers of oak, so many years after the fire. the algae in the cold water of the creek.

wandering off trail to eat underneath one of the tallest pines, in a sun-browned bed of its needles, listening to the song of the world. the wind in the green above, and blue beyond that.

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going off the map– thinking, we could just keep walking. and walking.

the deer bursting through the thicket, its strong haunches, the thunder of its feet on the ground so loud and close.

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the sheer faces of the mountains, the narrow footpath we call ‘pacific crest trail.’

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the desert floor below, the beauty and the gloaming. the fire of the last light to the west over pine mountain, its namesakes standing tall on the ridge, black against the deep deep red of it. the chill of the wind, serious (but kind), after dark.

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the deepest sense of belonging, here, and to each particular of this world, perhaps great enough to withstand the grief of leaving, of going back– until we come home again.

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