between here and there

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love and landscape

Summer is here in Gallatin Valley and we race to meet it before it passes.

I had a hike up the Gallatin Mountain trail this evening. The valley below tells its story of the day. The fields of mature seed-heads, be it weeds or wheat are dry and brittle. The waterways move down-land in curls of green trees, flowering plants and berries. Heat rises into the smoky haze of the sky. I stood and looked over the valley, its beauty, and thought of our briefness. The moment passes into memory, then a poem, moving on to remembrance of another women’s life.

The poem, “To An Athlete Dying Young,” belongs to A. E. Housman…. it is the poem’s end that lives in my memory:

And round that early-laurelled head 
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered onits curls

The garland briefer than a girl’s.

I look across the valley floor before me, the valley of Africa – only ever an experienced in film – is recovered from a memory gained years ago. I am now thinking about Isak Dinesen and the path her love took when living in Africa. The years of love for one man known. The path of friend recognized through as many experiences as could be taken or allowed, life-long lover, loss and longing, patience, and ultimately the arrival of perfect timing. Dinesen must have thought the universe played some cruel joke when her lover was killed on his way to her as she waited one windblown day. Looking to the valley floor below I see the plain of Africa. Windswept and dusty. Dry and fearless.

Timing is the universe’s folly. From its space we live together or apart. In response to our inability to control time we often choose limitations instead of taking the opportunities that are living with us. Dennison was a brave person to choose love with imperfect timing. She chose a dynamic life, ever changing, never definite, discoverable but not pre-known.

Love and landscape. Memory and timing. Living and bravery. Life speeds by and with the closing of the night our head hits pillow. Timing. The moment passes to years before the morning comes.