Thursday, August 24, 2006

Poor Duende

Poor duende

I lie quietly on the mountaintop. It’s not Everest. It’s not even very high. In my youth I might have scaled a taller peak. I might have dared the elements and shouted down at the world. Now I am content to snuggle in my sleeping bag with no fire. THiws peak is high enough to prove nothing.

Occasionally a falling star momentarily lights the sky. I’m still wearing my glasses to that I can see them. With each flash I am reminded of some person who I once knew. Some have just drifted into other orbits. Some have passed in a flash to the great unknown. Most of them would have laughed at me huddled in a sleeping bag peeking out at the night world.

The wind blows cold tonight. I like the cold wind. It whispers to me that time is short. It whispers with a low groan as if it is trying to turn over in its sleep. I know the wind doesn’t sleep.

Nearby is a marker. CH153. I found it thirty years ago with some excitement. The map showed the location and sure enough, it was there. I didn’t look for it this time. Why bother? Who hike up here to move it?

Several years ago I placed a cache up here. At the time I thought it would in some way change the order of the world, knowing full well that it wouldn’t be noticed. I didn’t look for that either. Let the past remain buried. An old badge with a peace symbol on it. A cast Buddha head. Some other nonsense. Ten thousand years from now maybe the junk will wash into the stream far below. Flotsam. Laughable flotsam.

Another meteor streaks by to become small dust. My friends. Oh those friends. How we could drink wine, laugh at the darkness and plan how to save the world. We talked of love and sex and rock and roll. Rock and roll out lived some of us. Love and divorce and death and sex. Rock and roll goes on. Somewhere there is some teen listening to “Stairway to Heaven” and thinking how great the tune is.

A meteor streaks from west to east. I remember a friend who died in Vietnam. What would he say? He’d remember my first trek to this spot in a World War II down sleeping bag marked USMC. He’d laugh and say “You haven’t learned a thing. What a waste of time. Where’s the wine? And then he’s storm down in the dark looking for some hot coed to ease his pain. Did he know that his life was so short?

I hear a diesel engine thundering against the grade hauling commerce toward some market. Wish I’d been on this spot when steam whistles broke the stillness. The plaintive wail would have made me feel alive. I once sat at a tunnel and felt the train just before it roared out of the opening like a cosmic mad birth.

The sky just winks at me. No it doesn’t. It just looks the same. Thirty years and the sky is the same. The mountain is the same. Only I have changed. No more meteors to light my way. I scrunch into the bag deeper. The wind is colder than it used to be.