Last weekend, I went up to Mt. Baker, or Komo Kulshan, to celebrate some birthdays under the Super Moon, with a coven of rather wild witchy women. Watching the moon rise up in purple haze, as we drove through the valley, and hitching itself to the peak of this mountain, the second of the twin giants that dominate our Eastern horizon, I was reminded again by how mysterious and magical mountains and rivers are to me.
Coming from the land of flat, monotonous landscapes and gently rolling, wooded hills, I'm forever awestruck by the rugged white peaks to whom the clouds cling onto, their steep sides and, steep precipices and boundless views.
I doubt I'll ever get used to it. This aspect of my home state is something I continue to be amazed by. Not just how much natural "wilderness" there is here, but also how varied it is. Within a couple of hours driving range from our ferry-landing there are two different mountain ranges, the wild shores of the Pacific Ocean, the high desert of Eastern Washington and a plethora of rivers great and small...
There are different climates and micro-climates, rain shadows and banana belts and places where the rain never seems to seize. There are strange dichotomies, like the one we encountered on hour short hike at Artist's Point: record snow and more or less nowhere to walk without gear, but the air so warm you could hike in snow in shorts and a tank top.
There's also an endless variety of flora and fauna, similar species that are subtly varied depending on their altitude, being born and dying, flowering and fruiting, waking up and going to sleep earlier or later in the season depending on where they are.
Everywhere I've been here, I've encountered species that are new to me, familiar critters in unfamiliar places. I'll probably never really know this land within its arbitrarily drawn borders, that contain Avalanche Lillies and Huckleberry patches, and Jays and loud loud Ravens.
This is a state where, given enough time and rain, everything here turns green. It's a thought that occurs to me often in the seemingly endless weeks of midwinter downpours.
You can taste that rain, each time you eat the landscape, feel it when you dangle your feet in snowmelt.
It's the state of water, a land of clouds, Washington, and as a friend pointed out on the river bank on Sunday on its mountains, that water meets the other three elements, the earth from which they push up from, the air which their peaks reach and the volcanic fire that continues to bubble and boil inside them. Magic.
How was your weekend?