Michael, not me, but a friend, was planning to hike up
Mike's Mountain today. It's not named after
either of us. And it's just a silly gringo name, not
Mexican at all. Rather after another fellow that climbed the
mountain and carried stuff up there many years ago where the air
is rare and placed it in a cave; water, a cot, chairs and food.
We first met Mike of Mike's Mountain when we lived where
Gecko's is today, before Geckos existed, or anything
else here for that matter, in the '70's.
Mike's mountain Mike distilled his own water from the
sea in a small pan he created and an evaporative tilted drip of
a runoff from a sheet of glass that led the water into a bottle.
He made his own bread from flour he brought into the village of
Bahia de Los Angeles from the north. He ground it by hand. He
was quite a character. He'd kayak down from his trailer
at Vista al Mar and visit with us daily so far back then, in years.
Today another Michael is hiking up the peaks of Mike's
Mountain. Our map tells us its four thousand feet above sea
level, where we sit. We tried to see him but the distance is too
great. And we were looking into the sun, westward as the
afternoon wore on. We moved the telescope to the west balcony
and positioned it in that direction. Michael called on the FRS
radio to check in and reported that he was nearing the
penultimate peak. We spied on him but couldn't spot him.
It's an old scope and feeble. Me too.
Then he called to tell us he was at the top. I was glad for him,
wished I was with him but could never have made that climb.
Driving by I notice the washes, the alluvial fans, that have
washed down from the peaks and midpoints of the tall mountains
over the millennium since they were created. I feel one with
them even though I am unworthy. They are simply rocks and stones
and sand but have been here far before and after me.
When we lived in our little self-constructed hut in the
'70's here a chubasco blew through and dumped a
number of inches of rain on us in a short period. Water rushed
down the deep ravines of the mountains and washed out huge
trenches on both sides of our hut, in which we were huddled,
Mary Ann and me. I heard the noise and was shocked to discover
the threat that could have killed us if we had been less
conscious of our environment.
As I'm driving to town and listening to the Moody Blues
I turn off the engine and leave the blues blowing dust off my
speakers. They're singing a song about the ebb and floes
of September through December. I've driven off into the
desert a great distance several times so I can elevate the
volume of this album without disturbing others and simply dream
between the words of their music. But today I have a focus. The
grand mountains falling through their tops, stones into gullies
where they are tugged by gravity.
How long will we have mountains on Earth? How soon will it be
flat, completely symmetrical and covered with some small depth
of water? Certainly sounds silly but it sticks there in my mind
and I continue to wonder. I think about the Earth's core
cooling. Is it really? How do I know that even though
I've read it several in places and it only makes sense?
Maybe we should find another planet to inhabit before we wear
And I wonder back over the years about the Indians, Mexicans,
Europeans that may have hiked the trail where my friend Mike has
headed up yesterday, coming down this midday. Virginia, his
wife, will pick him up. My assignment is relaying messages
between FRS and VHF radios. It's a pleasure to
participate, given the few activities I have here.
My focus remains on the rock fans pushed, pulled down from the
mountains. They're such a massive demonstration of
nature's power. I wonder how many arrowheads, if any,
are buried beneath the rubble, how many bones of us animals, at
last equal and buried together? I want to walk up them, the
fans, and I will someday. It won't lead to the top of
Mike's mountain, not even close. But it will help me feel closer
to the power of the elements, of nature.
In my dying years that will lead me to tranquility.