Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Fox and Mount St. Helens

A fox looked at his shadow at sunrise and said, “I will have a camel for lunch today.” And all morning he went about looking for camels. But at noon he saw his shadow again — and he said, “A mouse will do.”

From The Madman: His Parables and Poems, by Kahlil Gibran.

It was windy at Mount St. Helens — so much so, in fact,
that had I not consumed rocks for lunch, my fate could have been quite different.

Meanwhile, I had to laugh. Outside at the observatory, a group had assembled
and a guide was screeching at the top of her lungs about the devastation
that had taken place there when the volcano erupted in 1980 —
as if what had happened weren’t readily apparent.

As we made our escape and got out on the open trail, I told my wife and son,
“I’m not here to learn. I’m here to use my imagination.”
They’re used to such statements, of course.
They know, too, that I mean them with all my heart.

The scent from these wildflowers was incredibly strong.
No wonder the bees were drunk.

Photos by Vahan Michaelian

[click to enlarge]


Stickup Artist said...

You're speaking my language! Powerful expansive imagery and your statements ring so true. I'm glad you left the guide behind and went off on your own little party...

William Michaelian said...

It was the only sane thing to do; or the only way back toward my peculiar form of sanity, which is to brood as a mountain broods, secretly and in plain view.

jasmin said...

William, die Bilder sind beeindruckend, ein Erlebnis, auf den Fotos nur weites Land mit Höhen und Tiefen,
die Wildblumen und ein kleiner Schatten,
es scheint eine unberührte Welt zu Füßen zu liegen….
gute Wünsche Jasmin

vazambam said...

Your party was lucky--you actually got to see the mountain. When my wife and I visited the mountain many years ago, we had to use our imagination to see through the heavy veil of fog!

Tess Kincaid said...

I could eat a camel about now.

William Michaelian said...

Thank you, Jasmin. It has been thirty-one years since the mountain erupted, and the rivers below are still carrying off its beautiful, strangely colored life-blood. So many of us don’t even live that long. But, like the flowers, whose lives pass all the more quickly, our kind does. And we come and we go.

Vassilis, it was so bright up there, I was really wishing for clouds. I felt like I’d just come out from under a rock. A few puffs did form as we were about to leave, clinging to the mountain.

Tess, that’s the trouble with having a mouse for lunch.

Elizabeth Anderson said...

31 years!? Am I really that old?

William Michaelian said...

My grandmother said, “Never answer a rhetorical question.” Actually, she didn’t say that. And she wasn’t that old either; all you had to do was ask her.

Two Tigers said...

Great photos and many thanks for sharing your experience of a place that for some requires no interceding guide to understand!

Rocks for lunch -- AGAIN??

William Michaelian said...

More specifically, rock salad, with mint fresh from the garden. Rocks: the dreamer’s lunch. Try some today.