Fall is fleeting up here at 9300′.
It blows in overnight, flexing its artistic vein as it paints the hillsides in shades of gold and red and fiery orange.
It drops gilded carpets of Aspen leaves on forest paths as though laying down a golden carpet fit for mountain royalty.
I like to pretend that I myself, am the aforementioned royal visitor. I stroll between seasons on a long Aspen leaf lined carpet into my kingdom of statuesque trees, waving to my Mountain sentinels as I go.
I wrap myself in Mother Nature’s earthy perfume and memorize the tune bellowed from deep within the woods–the hum of the bees, the whisper of the wind, the trickle of water, and the cracking of wood as my woodland neighbors wander invisibly among the swaying trees.
It had to have been one or two in the morning, but I lay wide awake in the tent; alert enough that it felt as if day were about to break.
The night air had dropped to the low 30s and frost covered the rain fly creating little ice crystals that glittered and danced under the full moon.
I lay there, nestled deep within the downy depths of my sleeping bag with only my nose and cheeks exposed to the cool mountain air, and I listened.
Our campsite, sheltered in the midst of stoic Lodgepole pine trees on the banks of a high alpine lake, was high enough up a long, boulder filled, dirt road that traffic noises were obsolete. The night was windless and the air was still and cold, chilly enough that the atmosphere around the tent seemed to be frozen in time.
I listened and I listened. I and realized that for the first time in as long as I could remember, there was nothing outside of my own thoughts and my own slow breaths to listen to.
It seemed darker than usual this morning when the tinny song of my shrill alarm announced the start of the day. Even Mayhem hadn’t stirred from her cozy slumber, tucked into her kennel among layers of fleece and down.
I lugged myself out of bed and roused May while layering up, anticipating the frigid temperatures that punctuate Fall mornings in the High Country. We had yet to wake up to snow, but most mornings we found that our windshields had been decorated by a diligent Jack Frost, dancing his way over the cold, hard glass.
As we made our way downstairs, I glanced out the window and noticed fat, white flakes drifting down from the heavens, settling nicely into the crevices between the pine needles of the Lodgepoles that line our yard. Layering our deck in what looked like inches of cold, soft, cotton fluff.
It’s funny, how quiet the world gets when it snows.
It’s as if every breeze, every bit of trickling water, all of the traffic noises, and life’s silly little worries hush and settle in under thick blankets to watch the flakes fall, creating contrasts between warm and cold and black and white.
“my heart is tuned to the quietness that the stillness of nature inspires.” –Hazrat Inayat Khan
At least I know where to find my chariot.