In autumn I stare at the mountains, especially when the clouds brood gloomily over them. Such gorgeous gloom! I stare from the office where I work and I wish I were up there among the dying leaves, the fading maples, the aspens still gold, even if it were cold and rain dripped from the branches. I wish I were up there, with a good flame to cook over and keep me fed and warm –
so that I could look out over the valley where I live, gaze on the cloud shadows over the lake, and dream of the land stretching away – more mountains. I wish for the time to do this, to leave behind the struggle for survival for a while, escape into simplicity for a while to get my bearings. I’ll write more about this but to me the impulse to head for the hills is driven mostly by a longing for simplicity.
Were I up in one of those fading gold aspen groves looking over the valley, I would reflect on how strange it is that in a land burgeoning with wealth and labor-saving devices, most people still live with a gun to their head. If the bullet is poverty and panic and infamy, slower than an honest leaden drill bit, I don’t believe it makes it any less real, any less violent, any less of a threat.
I live in a place, a culture that glorifies wealth and grinds on the face of those it deems unworthy. And it does this under a cloak of optimism, faith and – most insulting of all – charity. I get lonely in this place (useless idealist!) and that’s another reason why I wish I could just go off into the mountains by myself.