a woman can’t survive by her own breath alone she must know the voices of mountains ~ excerpt from the poem "Fire" by Joy Harjo
Towards the end of February, a full moon night, the girls and I headed out for our second monthly backpacking trip of the year. This would be Juniper’s first of 2021, her first of her eighth year (she turned 7 years old in early February) and her first time heading out in winter. With snowshoes on, heavy packs on our backs and me dragging a sled of firewood, we headed out. Up the canyon and then up a steep draw that we call “The Draw” (yes, very inventive). Part-way up The Draw I started post-holing in snowshoes and soon found myself pitching forward and falling on my face. With a 60 pound pack holding me down, I found it rather difficult to extract myself from the situation I found myself in. Somehow I got up but still had more of The Draw to climb up. Soon I found myself at a stand still between gravity pulling me back down and my desire to climb. That damn sled with firewood was just too much! Luckily, my 10 year old had already made it to the top, dropped her pack and came to my rescue. Awesome! She helped by pushing the sled from behind as I lumbered, more easily now, to the top of The Draw. Sweating, out of breath and oh so thankful for my daughter!
We camped under a lone pine tree that we call the Sheltering Tree. The ground was bare, even though there was snow all around. Lovely to feel bareground after a snowy winter. The girls played and sledded while I set up camp and cooked dinner. Afterwards, we wandered around in the moonlight and enjoyed the dance and play of moon and cloud. Two coyote yipped and bark-yipped (an alert call) from nearby. We saw their tracks the next morning, approximately 200 feet from camp. Sometime in the night, Canada geese woke me up honking as they flew by. Many others in our valley heard them as well. Must be migrating.
The next morning we awoke to bright, beautiful, warm sunshine on the tent. No fire needed to stay warm. The girls played and sledded more while I cleaned up and broke down camp. A fun and lively time for them, a calm and quiet time for me.
Here is the haiku I wrote on the trip. The feeling of having my daughter come back to help me get up a hill was one of extraordinary love and admiration. This is the first time something like this has happened. I look forward to the increasing ways and times that my daughters help me in this beautiful, weary world!
She drops her pack helps push me up the hill reach the top, sweating.