January 8, 2018
I’ve been thinking about my younger, middle sister quite a bit. There is another younger sister, the last one of us three but she’s for another time.
This middle sister is 4 years younger almost to the day. She is my early memories of childhood in the mountains, us 4 & 8.
Dusty sidekicks we were, in the easy days back then we had free reign of time and woods against Forestry Land and we breached boundaries on both many times. Mom couldn’t keep us in clean clothes and there was always dirt in our hair but she let us be. We were a slight pair following the creek upriver for hours barefoot, plucking wild lilies and smashing skeets, back pockets carrying packages of crushed Ramen for snack
We hid ourselves deep in fern beds with sunlight dappling through overhead, as we weaved lupine and fireweed into promises of friendship. I’m sure we climbed all the trees and made forts of them too, sap became just another ingredient to this life we knew. I always thought she was the braver one doing the things first. There was a cold morning she broke through ice on a creaking beaver pond and there was an evening she dropped through a snow bridge up to her armpits, the creek below tearing the snow boots fast from her feet. On rare occasions with a look into each others eyes we could know something didn’t feel right; maybe it was a sudden stillness to the air...maybe it was a faint snap of twig...we would turn and run as fast as we could, heels to butts, not daring a look behind. We thought Aspen trees held old secrets in Native language on their bark as we traced the rough, swollen welts with quiet fingers. Massive granite outcroppings pulled echoing wishes from the deepest places in our hearts and plunged them into the canyons below
I’ve been thinking about her...maybe because our birthdays are coming up, and maybe because I see her own 3 daughters carrying the same fire inside. Over time as I’ve worked mountain pieces, memories of us flow like magic into the metal--small impressions of giddy laughter, scarred knees, and sweaty child-palms clasped tightly together. She is my mountains.