Oh the gift of those spectacular peaks! Rising up from the gray like a phoenix. Brilliant snow covered glaciers on an exceptional day. The city would come forth from its hibernation and flock outside. A “walking” lunch at the Market, the energy was electric, cold and crisp, all cares would fall away.
Back then, working the 8-5 job in the city, I didn’t realize how much the darkness and those shorter winter days affected me. I was busy commuting, drinking my daily lattes (now double short Americanos), and being caught up in the rat race. But those days, when the rain would stop and those glorious mountains would come out? Majestic! Looming above the Sound in all their glory!
My dad would call and we would head for a humbow, enjoying the brief reprieve from the overcast skies. And then, back to “reality” and paper shuffling, getting home after dark – yet still the brisk walk from the bus stop – revitalized until the weekend and maybe a hike with dad. Exploring the Pacific Northwest on foot or snow shoes. Getting back to the car just at dark. Stopping at the Sultan Café for a donut or Rotten Ralphs for a famous milk shake.
I don’t think I realized the full impact of those excursions. The elation of hitting the streets for a quick lunch, the grandeur and mystery, joy and relief, that being lost in the beauty of the Olympics brought me on those wintery days when they made their appearance. And a possible exploration on a Saturday of those mountains and their trails.
Until now. We are so lucky. Surrounded by open space, the mountains are outside my living room window, the trails in my back yard – to hike, and bike, build and maintain. The days are short, but the possibility of a walk in the woods is a part of my routine. I understand the call of the outdoors. It is a powerful force in my life. I used to call my dad the “mountain man in the city”. He would have loved a walking lunch here at Huckquarters with us. I think we would take more than the designated hour and gone off adventuring, looking for trails unknown. Coming back sometime around dark, with a half empty thermos of hot cocoa and cracker crumbs.
I understand now. It has become my constant solace, my therapy, my passion. Cheers to you dad!
Mountain man in the city / faraway look in your eyes / I too hear the call / and feel the ache in my heart / the desire to escape / to slip into the unknown mountains / and faraway reaches of my mind
Mountain man in the city / chained by responsibilities / break free / and live your dream / if only for today / Tomorrow you can return / with memories. - 1/22/89 Heidi Klippert