Calm in the Mountains
Last week we went to the mountains for a couple of days and oh, it was quiet and calm and profoundly beautiful.
We were lucky to go before the weekend crowds, and before the prices of high season kicked in. All day there it rained, and it continued to rain when we arrived. Jasper is a four hour drive, give or take, from Edmonton so we had lots of time when we got there to wander around. We had umbrellas, and wore our toques. We spent some time in our room looking out the window and the view just so happened to be amazing.
That Sanity Be Kept
by Dylan Thomas
That sanity be kept I sit at open windows,
Regard the sky, make unobtrusive comment on the moon,
Sit at open windows in my shirt,
And let the traffic pass, the signals shine,
The engines run, the brass bands keep in tune,
For sanity must be preserved
Thinking of death, I sit and watch the park
Where children play in all their innocence,
And matrons on the littered grass
Absorb the daily sun.
The sweet suburban music from a hundred lawns
Comes softly to my ears. The English mowers mow and mow.
I mark the couples walking arm in arm,
Observe their smiles,
Sweet invitations and inventions,
See them lend love illustration
By gesture and grimace,
I watch them curiously, detect beneath the laughs
What stands for grief, a vague bewilderment
At things not turning right.
I sit at open windows in my shirt,
Observe, like some Jehova of the west
What passes by, that sanity be kept.
This was the view (above) from our second story balcony at Pyramid Lake Resort and it was amazing to see the mountains magically appear that next morning after they’d been covered in mist all the first day. In this next photo you can see glimpses of where we stayed, in the newer buildings, second row.
After spending the day in the rain, the poem, Strong in the Rain, popped into my head. So here it is next.
Strong in the Rain
by Kenji Miyazawa
translation by Roger Pulvers
Strong in the rain
Strong in the wind
Strong against the summer heat and snow
He is healthy and robust
Free from desire
He never loses his temper
Nor the quiet smile on his lips
He eats four go of unpolished rice
Miso and a few vegetables a day
He does not consider himself
In whatever occurs
Comes from observation and experience
And he never loses sight of things
He lives in a little thatched-roof hut
In a field in the shadows of a pine tree grove
If there is a sick child in the east
He goes there to nurse the child
If there’s a tired mother in the west
He goes to her and carries her sheaves
If someone is near death in the south
He goes and says, ‘Don’t be afraid’
If there are strife and lawsuits in the north
He demands that the people put an end to their pettiness
He weeps at the time of drought
He plods about at a loss during the cold summer
Everybody calls him Blockhead
No one sings his praises
Or takes him to heart
That is the sort of person
I want to be
– from Soul Food
And of course, it’s wonderful to praise the rain, and then find that the next morning is calm and misty. There is so much to praise.
Praise the Rain
by Joy Harjo
Praise the rain, the seagull dive
the curl of plant, the raven talk –
Praise the hurt, the house slack
The stand of trees, the dignity –
Praise the dark, the moon cradle
The sky fall, the bear sleep –
Praise the mist, the warrior name
the earth eclipse, the fired leap –
Praise the backwards, upward sky
The baby cry, the spirit food –
Praise canoe, the fish rush
The hole for frog, the upside-down –
Praise the day, the cloud cup
The mind flat, forget it all –
Praise crazy. Praise sad.
Praise the path on which we're led.
Praise the roads on earth and water.
Praise the eater and the eaten.
Praise beginnings; praise the end.
Praise the song and praise the singer.
Praise the rain; it brings more rain.
Praise the rain; it brings more rain.
We praised the reflections in the still lake.
We praised the men working on the dock who then hopped into a green canoe and paddled away.
We praised the mountain and the glorious reflection of the mountain.
We praised found hearts, submerged near the lake shore.
The mountains were good in the rain, and there was calm in the mountains. We praised it all and came home feeling a little more centred, a little more quiet and calm. It was good.