Walking with you is like this. We explore hillsides and logging roads. Mountains and meadows. Once we found a coyote skull. Once porcelain pottery fragments, old bottles, and buckshot. Once a wooden boat, hidden in huckleberry. That was decades ago, near a mountain lake, where there once was a summer camp. The boat was nearly smashed into the ground by snow load. Still, there were traces of paint, and a few ribs of hull held together by rotted wood. We took pictures and imagined kids laughing. Once, on a trail to another lake, we startled a cougar. She jumped between us. In the bushes we saw the bared teeth of another – tail twitching.
Walking with you is like this. We find things. Once a forgotten water tower. Old railroad grades, broken bridges, abandoned buildings. We find swales and hollows and dents in the ground where chanterelles grow. We mingle with trees and moss and river water. Touch hands. Sleep close. Dwindle away our days. Walk toward whatever it is we are becoming. Because walking holds us steady. Now, and now, and now. Binds us. Guides us to the wild and hallowed cathedral of our being. We have walked so long and so many miles we find traces of ourselves. Here and there. On this or that mountain, or hillside, or path crossed. The way we once found a coyote skull. Though less tangible. More to touch a stone. Or there a mountain. To witness again a thousand stars. Or moon. Flocks and feathers. Nests. Bear or beaver. The tucked away pond or faraway basin. The tip of a peak.
Everything becomes something else eventually. Sun or mist maybe. Delicate as snow. There was once a kids’ camp by a lake in the mountains. We found traces one fall day. Hidden in the huckleberries. Above us rose a mountain obscured by clouds. It is still there, the mountain, though its tumbled and broken rock line the shore. The boat is likely disappeared. That day gone. We had mud on our shoes. Wet wool and raingear. What I mean is, we found the possibility of wandering together. There. By the lakeshore. The place where our love spilled out for the first time. Near the ever, ever lap of water. Rising. Falling. Rain. Snow. Sun. All of it falling on us walking. Walking and walking. Because walking with you is like this. We find things.