On the Edge of a Mountain Stream

What do you experience in the mountains? To best describe it, as I recently discovered in an old journal, I had to put the experience from someone else’s perspective, a girl name Fran. Perhaps someday, the story will have to be continued …

Fran dashed down to the side of the river. A curtain of dancing, white-rimmed ripples flew past the rocks, touching them only for a second before romping further below, always eager for the next bend of adventure. There it splashed, its joy the joy of living in one magnificent shout before leaping to the clefts below.

But there was always more. The moment Fran had focused on one happy community of frolicking foam, it was gone, always descending, always rolling, always joyous. “Where does it come from?” Fran’s blue eyes followed its course, squinting in the afternoon sunshine. But all she could see was dancing beams of light leaving magical touches on the quivering aspens. High above her, the mountains stood solid, impenetrable by the gaiety of the forests below.

A sort of pity overcame Fran. For a fleeting moment, she wished to run—all the way to the summit—and share some of the happy carelessness of the valley with its forlorn peak.

The sun digressed from its happy chatter—at least, Fran could imagine the ceaseless twinkling as nothing but chatter. A rounded cloud—so close Fran could almost touch it—left a discernible shadow on the meadow below.

Fran could not contain the emotion. She had never seen, no never imagined, the wonder, the glorious wonder, of a mountain. Each shivering leaf and half-bloomed bud of yellow, each mountain crevice and moss-carpeted stone offered unexplored beauty.

And best of all, there was no one. No vendors peddling their wares from the streets below. No screeching horns of cars, no bustle of people.

All was silent—at least, the kind of silence Fran had before known nothing of. Of course there were birds spreading happy chatter to the world, the creek bubbling its downward course. But all seemed to blend into one happy chorus of silent wonder.

Slowly, the mountain air blew in a slight chill, the mountains stood, silhouetted against the pink sky.

Fran tried to turn toward the cabin trail, but a mysterious enchantment seemed to hold her, locked into the scene. For a moment, the mountains seemed more movable than the girl, still against the darkening forest.

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