Monday, July 07, 2008


Ghosts stand watch on Mount Mitchell. They too are beginning to get old. For years they’ve been standing but decay wins. Red Spruce and fir have faltered. American Chestnuts left long ago. Shadows of what once was cast dim shadows under the noon day sun.

Monk Ki looks around. Is he early or is he late? What time line is he supposed to follow? He looks west and chest takes a deep breath holding it for a subtle count of three.

“Time.” He speaks out loud as if this one word has some great importance. It doesn’t but he feels better for saying it. He turns to the north and inhales.

“Flies.” A bird flaps its wings and then glides on an updraft.

He turns to the south and the sun warms his face as his eyes strain to see mountains he once roamed. They look smaller now. The past doesn’t seem as significant. Once he reveled with friends and pledged eternal care and now he stands alone on this peak. He exhales one word, “Time.”

And finally his rotation stops pointing his toward the east. So many years ago he watched the sun rise from the horizon. Today he slept through that moment when the ball seems to hang deciding whether to continue. He bends down and then flexes his knees. His hands shift three stones into a cairn. “Forgets.”

He stands and walks down the slope. He looks back. “I was there. I wonder where you are?” And with those words he throws his arms out and spins around three times thinking of dervishes.

The ghosts of Mount Mitchell lean into the breeze. The scent of winter is on the wind.