Almost 15 miles east of Granite Falls, WA, right off of the Mountain Loop Highway, there is an old, gated logging road that the locals just slip under to walk. Just to the east of the rutted road is a giggling creek bouncing playfully over boulders and a little further along, an old logging bridge (you know the kind, completely made of chainsaw cut logs, with the precious few milled 2×6’s saved for the decking that is rotting away). The road becomes more of a wide path with an umbrella of branches covering me from above. It opens up to a wild flower meadow as the trail turns west. Mt. Pilchuck glows in the sunset, while the foxglove at the edge of the path takes on a shade of purple that must be heavenly. On this mountain, you understand why the black tail have such huge eyes… they are the watchers. Momma coyote isn’t afraid of you, but the young bears, newly on their own, are. All the same, I give them all the space they want, just in case momma hasn’t abandoned them yet. Birds that you suspect only exist in books, sing their hallelujah to the setting sun. If you thought to bring your binoculars with you, you could see them with clarity that the books do not give. Keep going, you do not want to walk back in the moonlight; the bear you see in the setting sun may still be there in the dark. Once you reach the top of the ridge and the old road is less visible, you finally come to the landing.
It is from the mountain’s voluptuous shoulder that I first realized that gold is not at the end of the rainbow but in the distant waters of The Salish Sea, hidden in plain sight from the eyes of the city dwellers. I am compelled to watch the sun sink. This must be what the Apostle John was seeing when he described streets of gold, as clear as glass. No photo, no watercolor, will ever do justice to the moment. There are too many sounds, a subtle scent and that delicious breeze after the hot climb. The visual would be one dimensional (at least from me it would). The inspirational moment comes when you turn back to retrace your steps toward home.
In the final rays of sunset the rugged peaks that are usually just part of the background become a craggy crown from which the bright jewel moon lifts from its setting. There is a realization that this path, this scar on the mountain is Holy Ground and you are standing in the lower reaches of angelic realms. Worship happens. It carries me back without fear of the night sounds or the blackness of trees that absorb the light of the world but not of the soul.
Back on the highway, less then twenty minutes from my front porch, a pickup flies by. The harsh glare of headlights snaps me back to this world. Now it seems awkward to be caught with uplifted hands singing praise to the Almighty. I am back, but I know where I am going because I’ve just been there. I can still hear the frogs singing, I heard them on the other side before the pickup went by. Hallelujah!
Mrs. Hagerty, August 9, 2016