‘You are such a mountain goat!’ My husband’s idea of romance!

Sean has been talking about taking the family hiking on the Old Rag mountains for a few months now, and I, of course, have been stalling. It’s not that I don’t like hiking, I love it, but on the plain surface, by a beautiful river or through the woods. Not any more labor intensive than that! But spring break came around and this guy went berserk on me. Things got so bad that he would dream of Old Rag and scream ‘Old Rag Mountain, here we come’ in his dreams. No, that didn’t happen, I am exaggerating a bit!

Anyway, he started talking more and more about it, he got the kids riled up, it was 3 against one. I gave in. The enthusiasm was slightly scary. I asked him if he planned to take me up and push me off a cliff to collect the insurance. He denied, he said he had no such plans. I was safe…for the moment. He played his trump card, ‘Think of all the pictures you will get from up top!’ I was sold.

I showed my utter indifference to the whole process by not making sandwiches or packing any snack. That was not just laziness, I was making a point. He didn’t mind or take heed, he made everything himself. He just dragged me off the bed at 4:00 am and we were off!

Once we arrived and saw the sun rising, I grudgingly admitted it was a good idea, after all. But I was still very concerned about my physical ability to make the climb – 3291 feet elevation, of which, one mile was pure boulder hopping.

I did just fine and enjoyed myself immensely. In his excitement, that his plan was successful and the wife was actually having a good time, Sean gushed, “Kids, who knew your mom was such a mountain goat, huh?” I was panting hard the first time so I let the comment slide. But after a particularly difficult phase of rock climbing, he said it again, “My mountain goat of a wife!” Then I let him have it! I told him, in no uncertain terms, that I didn’t think calling his wife a ‘mountain goat’ will earn him any brownie points. In fact, that is not romantic at all, he could call me nimble-footed, fit, athletic…something along that line. But mountain goat is the limit. Can’t take it! I will dream of myself sprouting four legs, two cute horns, a beard and jumping around mountains. Ughh! Shudder! He back tracked quickly and said things like, “You always under-estimate your ability. See, this was a piece of cake for you. You are in awesome shape!” etc etc. That mollified me a bit. We walked a total of 8 miles round trip. And labeled my two children as the toughest cookies ever.

Sunrise through the woods.
Moving on.
A view mid way.
Rolling hills.

Looks like we made it!

A ‘Daffodils’ moment, in my case a bare tree.

Had a total Wordsworthian moment as I went to my backyard today, to do something very mundane, like letting the dog in. Wordsworth was awestruck seeing

A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

In my case it was an ordinary tree, that too, leafless. A very familiar tree, standing like a sentry, in my own backyard made me stop and look at it for a few minutes. The beauty of the silent, serenity around me was fascinating. The sunset with glorious colors splashed all over the sky, and the leafless tree standing still at the edge of the yard. I
don’t know what made me stop because I seem to have ceased noticing these splendid gifts that nature has given us in abundance. I felt a sincere joy in being alive and fortunate enough to witness the sunset. Life, right now, seems like a marathon of schedules, plans, deadlines, activities. Passions have taken a back seat for a while, gone way down the totem pole. When I try to read at the end of the day, my eyes read the words yet my mind fast forwards to the next chore on my list. What happened to those days of reading with utter abandonment? Now, my constant refrain to my family is “let’s go, we are going to be late!” Can’t be late, life will go by us! I complain to whoever will listen, my children have no sense of urgency! Ryan and Sahana live in a world of their own where they control the time or timelessness. In my heart, however, I am wistful, envious. The sight of Ryan throwing his football up in the air or picking dandelions in the yard, seeing Sahana absorbed in her book, oblivious to the busy world around her, make me ponder. Where did those days go by? For me?

This tree, bereft of all its leaves, looked so regal and beautiful in the setting sun. I have read, analyzed, written papers on Wordsworth’s “Daffodils” more times than I care to count, but I think I finally understood the poet’s feelings, for the first time! Unlike him, my mind’s eye is not so sensitive and I will probably not recollect this beautiful scene in “vacant or in pensive mood”. Moreover, how often do I have “bliss of solitude” anyway? So I captured it in my camera to at least look at it again and share it with you all. Happy also that I could still stop to look at a bare tree at the backdrop of this splendid sunset. Not all is lost! This phase of my life is full, and hectic, yes. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. It would be great to have more time to look around me and see the wild flowers blooming, the sun setting in all its splendor between the trees in my backyard, the bird’s nest high up in the leafless tree silhouetted against the clear, blue sky. But one day, when my little ones don’t need me any more, this tree, the flowers and the spectacular sunset will still be there for me to look and rejoice. As long as I can still spot them and stop in my tracks to exclaim “Oh look! It is so beautiful!”, I need not despair.