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Yosemite Valley

The timid whisper of fog floats through the swaying trees on its way to call the morning to life. A mountain breathes the name of the silent one with a yawn. The brisk breeze rustles a tune in remembrance of the one who once thrust granite through soil to kiss the blue. An eager star ascends the eastern sky to shatter the morning chill while ancient sounds echo through the mist. All that stands and sings and sways woke to the sweet melody forever hence. 

The clouds shiver off the night and permit long shafts of glowing beams to escape through stolen cracks in the pillowy heavens. An orange wash saturates the rocken spires and illuminates a hidden valley which sleeps in lasting darkness below. 

The morning dawns in crisp columns of amber but the eyes of mortal flesh blink and gaze at living crags seeing only dead stones. The noble mountains sing and dance, they frolic and play, they bask in the shifting brilliance but brittle bewildered bystanders behold them but dumbly. The rocks cry tears borrowed from the distant snows. They weep waterfalls that wet the unseeing watchers who insist the water is only a lifeless wash. The mountains beg the sleepers to awaken to the brilliant scene, to the everliving, to the source of sound and solace, to the silent one. The sleepers gawk and marvel. "Look at these stones who have raised themselves to such prominent heights," they croak with desiccated tongues and dry dust-packed throats. They watch the imperial crests with sunken sockets and call out to each peak with life-forsaken names, names that have forgotten the eternal majesty that birthed the towering peaks in eons of antiquity. 

As morning tiptoes through the trees, pilgrims tread the pebbled paths pursuing each precipice with no perception of the silent craftsmanship that hewed rock from earth and called stars to bathe the hills in glorious light. The mountain cries to the dazed who wander her form, "I am a shell, a shadow, a sham if my shape speaks nothing of the power pent in my silent past." The sleepwalkers hear only a rumble, a hint of thunder and rain but walk on in will-filled oblivion. 

The day bears them on as morning chill gives way to dark brooding clouds. They will not hear the song of the rocks so the silent one sends lightning on the mountain and sets fire to the valley. Smoke rises harshly through the millennia of grand trees. The blaze torments the maker and the made, but the fiery cost is paid in bark and sap only to wake the walkers. 

The dying trees sing louder than the morning mountains ever could. One pauses. Does he hear the song of old? A scorching wind rips at the blackened meadow as the white hot peaks watch in agony. The last crackling cry of the forest is only ever in hopes of waking those who sleepwalk among the blazing world of scorn. 

Muted brownish light now shines through the soot-laden haze. The deaf sleepers cry to the blind to quench the flame. Water and chemical and earth, and the wildfire retires tired. The broken forest weeps as the flame abates. She has sacrificed, yet the scorch has woken none with the spark. 

Dusk creeps wearily to the smoking glade. The silent one watches as his blackened mountain shouts one last siren blast before the day's light sneaks beneath the smutty stalks. Night, once again, must fall. The sleepers dream on, worshiping the rocks and forest and praising their own effort to save that which labors to wake them. They slumber on. The silent one once again prepares a new melody to wake each sleeper. Each song, a single day. 

I wrote this on a visit to Yosemite National Park as a wildfire tore through the area. The crowds of people came so worshipingly to the valley, but their worship was not directed at the creator, but instead the creating things.

-Lucas Kitchen


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