Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Beautiful Behemoth

I've fallen in love with a mountain. Do you suppose that's normal? Is there a cure for it, do you think?

Obviously, this has never happened to me before, though I've heard rumors of others' infatuations. For the life of me, I don't know why it's happened to me now. The mountain I love is an old acquaintance; I've seen it every time I've driven west for the past nine years. But one day, I looked up casually over my dashboard, and for the first time I saw it, really saw it, my Beautiful Behemoth.

Now I head west on purpose just to make eyes at it. I catch my breath a little when the trees and buildings recede some, and I can get a fuller view of its expansive charms - its chisled face, broad shoulders, its bulk. It is at once mammoth yet handsome, its wide face highlighted in purple shadow. When I drive east, I glance repeatedly in my rearview mirror at its silhouette, pondering how its form morphs with each mile.

It is so bad that once Matthew, My Man, said to me sharply, "Keep your eyes on the road, Woman!"

But I could not help it. Even in the dim late evening light, it was fetching.

Last week, I took a little day trip to a dear friend's house across the Phoenix valley. I had to travel home on four different highways which always constitutes an adventure in my book. But you know, I didn't even mind, because first, I love my friend and see her too little, and second, I got to view my Beautiful Behemoth from the west and see how it swept majestically across miles of this valley floor. I practically swooned right there behind the wheel seeing it in all its afternoon glory.

Yes, it's bad. Bad, indeed. For wherever I go in town, I seek a glimpse of it. I disdain to travel farther east than home, because I am heading away from it. I want to be nearer it, to actually buy a house close to it, so that I can build a relationship with it. Not right at its feet, mind you. I don't want it to lose its mystique, become too familiar if I'm able to step out my back door right onto its heels. No, but I do long to see it from my home and not have its face obscured by all the city clutter between it and I. I want to see its shoulders slowly illuminated with the sunrise as I raise my coffee cup in cheerful greeting.

Oh, we could become glad friends, Beautiful Behemoth and I.

As my gentle reader can guess, this southwestern town, like so many western towns, is rimmed on every side by mountains of varying height and breadth. But I am faithful to my one and only. I cannot be swayed by the iconic shape of Cambelback Mountain. I cannot even be called astray by the rugged mystery of the folklore-laden Superstitions. And the rest? Well, I don't even know their names, nor do I care to. Some of them have the most ridiculous lumps and spikes as they heave in an abrupt hiccup from the desert clay. They are nothing to the graceful lines of my Beautiful Behemoth.

My husband Matthew is an extraordinary man, because, eschewing all jealous feelings, he has promised to take me hiking up Beautiful Behemoth's trails come fall when the weather cools. I cannot wait. I only hope that when I examine it that closely, when I'm able to see up close all the fissures and scrub on its face, I shall not love my mountain any less for its personality.


  1. A beautiful love letter to mountains and your good friend Behemoth. I can relate to that feeling and remember how being close to the nature (ocean, desert, mountain, river) allow those feeling to surface and inspire bright sparks of art.

  2. Shopgirl, your comment was so poetic. I hope my love letter to mountains was worthy of it :-). And thank you so much for reading. I really enjoy finding your comments here.

  3. A love of mountains is one of the most natural things in the world, Hillary, I'd like to think that you get it from me. Up there among the heights there is peace, quiet, and a sense of the nearness of God.
    Beautiful post.
    Love, Papa


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