Amid The Heather
~ From the Wild Side ~

photo of Ken J. by Mark Boyle below Easton Glacier in Mt. Baker Wilderness Ken James McLeod

Much like how the sweet-green greasy grass relates to the Plains Indian way of life, the alpine country when touched by my own hand gives my spirit anew, generating an emphathy that runs through my own being. As I knelt down with outstretched arms I began to gently caress the heather with my fingers. It grew thick among the granite rocks and boulders that were strewn here below the glacier. "What hardy plants," I thought to myself, "able to withstand the mountain snows of winter, and the heat of the summer." Here, at about 6,500 feet, beneath the snowy-jagged peaks, the sub alpine firs showed the constant strain of decades old wind-swept conditions and the harshness of it all. They were bent and frayed like old men...

In the later part of the day, I found a hollow on top the heather and relished the feeling I had laying down upon the mountain loam. I thought, "something can definetly be said for laying ones own body down upon the earth and feeling its pulse...it is profound!" But I suspect this feeling is beyond most humans today, for they know not the simple joys of nature, and in reality they fear it most of the time, especially when the night folds into darkness... they then scurry back to the confines from which they came, not wanting to experience what may lurk beyond the forest shadows. Sadly and far too often I think, we humans are consumed in what the earth can do for us, rather than what we can do for the earth. But that is the way of mankind today...we take and give little back...we have lost touch with our earth.

With the spirit of a free-roaming man (remembering the Plains Indians) I'm often labled a dreamer, wild and unruly, a mountain bum who doesn't want burden or worries; sometimes simply scorned for the freedom I seek and enjoy. Heretofore, my spirit has always been utterly free from the confines and clutter that civilization brings...that which binds a man's mind to conform to the will of society's everyday discourse. In so doing, I am free to watch the sunset and sunrise come and go...where ones eye can run amuck to the end of the world, where beyond Mother Earth meets Father Sky . . .

KJM

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