“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake”– Thoreau
Mythical sirens called. Compelled to follow, I drove alone through the night toward Vulan, Dark and JA volcanoes where I parked in the outer lot, empty until my arrival. I was exquisitely and cautiously alone; a warrior is always alert.
Leaving safety behind, I climbed through an opening in the locked, metal gate and walked along the moonlit trail, a somnambulant hypnotically urged forward. The vast open plain spread out before and behind, hushed but for the soft whisper of wind through the sage. I thought perhaps I might witness something magical, something magnificent even. Nature often rewards our efforts when communion is our purpose.
Through a haze of fairy-book wonder, I looked up. Magic had already taken hold….luminescent orb!
I stopped to watch a shallow stream of clouds pass over the moon.
The slow current flowed north to south along the western rift edge of the Rio Grande River Valley. The moon danced in ether, bathed in a billowing diaphanous dress, a glowing sphere of mystery. Perhaps this nomadic community of water vapor had coalesced from the earlier heat of the day, or maybe this mystical mist had been conjured for my eyes only; a pleasure I was witness to contemplate.
Me, my moon shadows, and the sweeping sky above, humbling in its boundless grace. I laughed and twirled around whispering, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
The intention had not been to actually climb one of the volcanoes. The walk from the outer parking lot measures more than a mile and a half to the top, not a long hike during the day, but under moonlight one’s footing is always tenuous. Plus, it was very cold. I would return with wind in my face. Yet, JA rose closest in the distance, a darkened silhouette, an old friend calling me. An old cone calling an old crone. I could not resist the summons, so I set out to climb the narrow jagged path to the crest, stumbling, sometimes tripping, but determined.
The top! My reward (as if the sky were not enough): a dazzling, sparkling, display of city lights far below toward the east, toward the Sandia Mts. Bewitched, I laughed with delight and twirled around again, arms outstretched, hooting and howling my “barbaric yalp,” no false faces necessary when only the gods were watching.
Cautiously, I tread across the ancient caldera and soon found a windbreak. Here I turned toward the stone, hugged the jagged wall of lava, literally hugged it…cheek to rock…forehead pressing cold, aged pahoe-hoe. Silent, standing perfectly still, I swear I felt JA’s heartbeat against my own chest. Here I met with eons and millenia, with this 125,000 year old rock and a primordial sky.
Back around to face the east, I leaned against the lava while looking up at the night and nestled in for a prayer. I thought of Thoreau’s good friend Emerson who said it better than I.
“Standing on the bare ground…all mean egotism vanishes…I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the universal being float through me.”
I understood my wee proper place within the warp and weft, the fabric of the universe; I wept with gratitude. How fortunate am I…are we?
Sentient beings on a beautiful planet!