As I climbed up a hillside so steep even the wisps of clouds settled in trees thinking they’d already reached the sky, a brown bear came rolling down the slope. For a moment he could’ve been a rock, but no... he paused, looked over at me just as surprised and moved gracefully to the East, disappearing so quickly I wondered if he was real. He was small enough I considered that his mother might come bounding down the slope too, half hoping she would and half worried she would but the only sound was The Weeknd singing “Try Me” in my ears.
I pushed pause on my headphones listening intently, the soft sound of wind moving branches and snow dropping. Does the bear have a message for me? The thought passed through my mind as though each moment in the frozen forest was important. I wasn’t always sure what was a dream and what was this world, this lifetime. Would my dreaming self wake up in a start and wonder about her bear dream? Recall her cold feet and the feeling of deep sadness she carried up the mountain?
I was still here though and I was in some remote forest, the closest human many miles away. I was making the first white tracks up the mountain. Lightly, lightly, the snow landed around me, on my waterproof hooded jacket, hitting my pants and melting into streams soaking my shoes. I was startled by my watch vibrating, one more mile it said. Lightly, lightly the snow fell until the wind swirled the snow flakes into angry clouds, biting my face and cheeks. I moved my buff over my nose.
For a moment a light so bright someone could’ve turned on a cosmic flashlight above the mountains south of me, but it was the sun hiding behind a blustery snow filled cloud, the mist shifted and suddenly the mountains came into view: yellows, oranges, red, green and grey albeit for the top 1/3 which was frozen in white. The view stirring up feelings, like the breeze had moved the snow a moment before, and now I was moved to feel awe and fear. An appreciation for the power of the landscape and my small part in it: I was as insignificant as the snow that would melt one day, I was a part of the landscape a part of what made it wild and free.