Monday, August 31, 2009

We went to Mt. Rainier this weekend, mostly because my friends have tired of my steadfast refusal to believe that the mountain exists. This is a thing that I do, sometimes, decide to not believe in something despite clear evidence to the contrary. (See also: snow, live armadillos.) I do it partly because it amuses me to gently exasperate the people I love by claiming outrageous things and refusing to believe all proof that I am wrong, but mostly because it's a convenient shorthand to use to remind myself not to lose a sense of wonder at the world. I find that things are more amazing when I try not to take them for granted, and I am into things being amazing.

Mostly I am poorly timed, just a little too late or a little too early, awkwardly trying to make up the difference and failing. I laugh too often and sometimes too loudly, fidget too much, stumble through my sentences riddled with unwieldy enthusiasm. Volcanoes and I have these things in common, I think.

The mountain was mostly shrouded in clouds, clearing sometimes to show us whole sweeps of meadows and a glimpse of the glacier. We picnicked cocooned gently in a cloud that muffled all the noise from the road and other picnicking families, walked up to Paradise barely able to see in front of us. And then things cleared, the way they always do, and we walked up to a waterfall surrounded by nuns, moisture sparkling on all of the greenery. By the time we started back down, the clouds had returned, covered all those footsteps we had just left in the air.

I sometimes forget that we live just past the base of a volcano, that one of these days it's going to get fed up and explode and spread lahars all over those meadows. I'm glad it turned out to be a place that is actually there.

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