It was warm and cozy between her legs, under the covers. It had taken awhile to settle in which is why I was so bothered to be woken up by my “dad” (he makes me call him that) anxiously asking me if I was ready to go for a hike today. What was he talking about? Why was my “mom” (she makes me call her that) getting out of bed? I moaned and whined which didn’t tame their excitement, then I went to my last and strongest form of protest: become dead weight and act as if I can’t move. It makes me feel clever, until I’m picked up and carried, and that cleverness fades away to insecurities about my short-term memory, which is hard because I’m a bit of an over-thinker.
We moved to Colorado a few months ago, and to be quite honest it has been hard on me. Everything seems so new, from the places we sit to the areas we walk and the smells, oh goodness the smells. I don’t know how I feel about new, which maybe implies I prefer old, but I’m not one to imply. The people seem nice, lots of geese which I don’t have a problem with (bunch of loudmouths really) and a fireplace which I didn’t know I would like so much. Overall I guess I shouldn’t complain, or imply I don’t feel at home yet, or suggest I just learned the word imply.
Now we are in the car, my “parents” (good grief) keep saying Good Morning, but it’s dark outside so maybe they are confused. The drive is long but the sounds of public radio lull me to sleep, in which I have a horrible dream I’m a tetherball being blown in endless circles by a somewhat aggressive seeming wind. I wake up nauseous and unsettled, the car is going slow and up, winding around and winding around, something pops in my ears, I look out the window and see huge rocks and trees everywhere. I see all these trees and anyone who knows me knows I’m a bit of an arborist. It was breathtaking, it truly took my breath away, I became dizzy and my “mom” held me real tight which helped.
The winding stopped. Everything felt very still. My breathing was a bit labored, which usually happens after long runs in the fields, not long rides on huge rocks, or what I’m learning to believe are mountains. So much new.
When I got out of the car I was met with snow and instantly started jumping around as quick and fast as possible to get it off me, which just covered me more. The snow is different from snow I’ve encountered in the past though, it’s soft, it feels likes soft tickles.
We are quickly on the move, and my bad mood and thinking how suspect all this is goes away. Maybe it’s my short-term memory, but I don’t think so. My heart started racing out of excitement, everything I was seeing, feeling and smelling was new, but in a different way, a familiar new, if that makes any sense. I don’t mean to imply you as a reader can’t make sense of things though. Scents! The air was full of so many: rosemary, pine, oak, and it is so fresh. These smells were new to me but I became entranced in them, there wasn’t a tree or a rock or a leaf I didn’t want to explore. I hope that is an apt description, as I don’t know the names of smells very well but do know words my “dad” uses when he sticks his nose in a bottle or glass. Really, it just smelled like heaven, which I guess means if I were in heaven I would say it smelled like this. These are the mountains, we are in them, I am here.
The terrains started getting rough, my “parents” were even having a hard time, slipping and stumbling, I had to stop quite often to wait on them, as I had no problem jumping from rock to rock, making my way up. My body was doing things it had never done, I grew up running in fields, and by running I really mean kind of a thoughtful walk, but a brisk one. It felt like I had wings, I jumped up a rock that was three times my size, treaded through a stream that covered my ankles and scared me but also made me feel strong at the same time. I ran and hopped through mud and snow, constantly going up, I felt like I was flying. My body was moving before my mind, my body was at home, and my mind was slowly realizing it. What is this place?
Before I could start to wrap my head around it we were surrounded by rabbits. Not one or two rabbits, but rabbits everywhere. I would chase one and ten would take off in different directions. I don’t know why I ran after them, a mixture of excitement and curiosity led me to run everywhere, to chase pinecones and really I just want to keep talking about the rabbits, because I don’t think you’re getting how many there were, but, I’m sorry I don’t mean to imply. I trust you can imagine what a lot of rabbits look like. It was everything I had ever dreamed or imagined, without ever being in this place. This place, this mountain. This Colorado.
Now I’ve heard of people being put on this earth “for a purpose!” but could that happen to me? Was my purpose to hike and climb rocks? After much contemplation I believe yes, indeed that is my gift. The sun began to rise, and I stood up strong, looking all around me, winding myself in circles to see everything but not feeling sick, feeling overwhelmed. It’s not just a mountain. There are mountains! Big ones and smaller ones and then even bigger ones! Everywhere! Some had snow some didn’t, in one direction all I could see were endless trees, I was on top of the world. This is my purpose. I’ve never been great with colors but these colors I could see! It was like seeing all the colors in the world for the first time, and not just a color, but a range of colors within that one color. The mountains, the colorful mountains. The range.
My “parents” caught up, and they were smiling, holding hands, so I ran over to greet them. They kept calling me “King of the Mountain!” and told me I was a natural rock climber. My instincts were correct. I am a rock climber. I am King of this Mountain.
New is good, I think I like new. Not to imply I’m now not fond of old. I just realized you can be fond of both. New is just harder, it takes time, sense, scents, surroundings, and in my case, rocks and mountains, and snow and mud, and even streams, and rabbits too. Isn’t it funny how much we can learn about ourselves as we get older and experience new things? At 35 I learned that my old dreams were now my new reality. I feel like a five-year-old.
That night as I got under the covers, but before I did I licked my “parents” feet, and then stood on the bed proud and upright, looking them both in the eyes, and seeing a reflection of pride, as they were looking at me, a twenty-pound poodle who that day became the King of All Mountains. I’m a mountain dog now, I look forward to introducing myself to the rabbits officially on our next outing.
In summary, new is scary, old is easy, new is amazing, old is growing, learn a new word and never forget you’re the King or Queen of something, I mean if a miniature poodle can be the King of a mountain, what’s stopping you?