Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dinner Plate Moon

We walked hard through thorns and cow patties. A fence stretched along a ridge of the hill. We sat next to it, sweating with the dirt and yellow jackets.

Grass hoppers chased us down, hopping on our shoulders and slapping wings against our faces until we crossed the road and climbed up onto the rocks. The setting sun turned the water pink and made my hair look red. I changed into my swimsuit; the water was dark when I splashed in. Fish jumped across the river--spooky sounds in the twilight, the full moon rising like a yellow dinner plate over the hills. I climbed back onto the rocks, my hair dripping cold against my stomach and my thorn-marks stinging in the night air. My fingers smelled like water. A friend and I discussed tattoos and life and death and beauty and sorrow, and the moon kept rising, shrinking, like a dinner plate flying into the stars.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lingua Latina

This morning I sat in the library, my gray computer chair squatting low like a tweed mushroom. The dingy cord of my earphones hung from the computer box; 14th century church music played in my ears. The words were in Latin, but I could understand them. Suddenly this "dead" language came alive to me. Because I am learning this ancient language, I am becoming connected with the church of the past.  Words penned by monks in candlelight and sung by monks in cathedrals are words that I can now understand. Quia Linguam Latinam novi, veterem iungor. Let this Latin chant touch your soul, even if you cannot understand the words.

Viderunt omnes fines terrae salutari Dei nostri:
Jubilate Deo omnis terra.
Notum fecit Dominus salutare suum:
ante conspectum gentium revelavit justitiam suam.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Headlights glint on the sleek fur of the moose. It throws its tall rack up as Bailey pounds the gas and her little green car bucks out of reach of danger. Blood shivering in veins, we continue the journey to the peak, slipping around three-foot ruts and barely avoiding potholes. The sky is stars as we start a fire and unload our camping gear by the light of the flames. When the tent is up and the sleeping bags unrolled, we bundle in jackets and move slowly through the dark, toward the rocks. I find my favorite crevice and curl up to stare at the moonlit Palouse, at the lights of man below and of God above. Stars fall across the blackness like acorns bouncing from oak trees; the Milky Way is bright and the Big Dipper hangs behind me. We whisper and laugh, but we don't tell ghost stories--we'll be able to hear coyotes as we fall asleep tonight.

Morning slips through the trees, the sunlight like a secret. And before us stretches an entire day on my mountain: to hike and climb and eat roadside berries, to study and dance with bees and find mushrooms and build fires and to breathe, to breathe that fresh, clean mountain air.