Clouds hang up over the divide. Like a depression settling in, clouding your view. Perhaps it will be here for the day, or week, it’s hard to tell because you can’t see to the other side. Not yet. But those low levels of heaven and mind are not without purpose.
The gravel road to the trailhead is dustless, settled by precipitation overnight, and as we rig in the parking lot, the steep wind feels more like fall than mid-July -- rushing the drainage from the storms bearing down. But there is no thunder, no rain. Just the persistent chill of could be as we pull on waders and boots, keeping fleeces zipped.
We won’t get far, I think as we set off, before the sky breaks loose.
But we have to go ahead—because in the mountains, you never know. Percentages don’t mean much, because there’s always a chance. Which means there’s always doubt or hope, depending on your point of view.
Cutting off-trail down through burials of canned goods from old mining and railroad camps laced
with cow parsnip and strawberries just beginning to bloom... like flowers and food left on a
grave for the dead; although it’s really left for us. By us. We who are still here, balm on the guilt
of moving on.
The stream is just as it was last fall. I’ve visited several times before, though, this spring checking in as I would on a friend recuperating, gaining back strength. Walking through shin- deep mud of moose tracks in marsh marigolds, just for a look—standing in awe, wondering how the trout aren’t all washed away in the torrent of this drainage’s snow, or freeze to death over winter when it’s hard to even tell there’s a stream here at all, covered by so many feet of snow. There are scientific explanations for each, I know, but that doesn’t take away from the magic. Especially when you cannot remember the truth.