Mooney picked me up in the same car we drove in two summers earlier to Shingletown Gap and climbed on the rock face. I wonder if it is about the same time of year as it was then. He wasn't sure how to get to Shingletown anymore. I showed him a shorter way I had found when I took the time to be lost for a while. I set my head out of the window and let the wind rush around. The roadside purple flowers were in bloom.
We were about a week too late for the laurel and rhodedendrons. We kept looking for ones in bloom but only found one plant out of the hundreds we passed. No views or ridges or bouldering today. We stayed down by the Roaring Run. "The creek is running pretty nice the whole way" he comented several times. I wasn't sure what it meant for a creek to be "running nice". But it sang with energy as we moved slowly upstream, stopping to watch it when it came near us, in a small roar. As loud as its small body could manage.
But it was the green that captured us. It was so new. The light seemed young. It seemed happy and restored to itself. To hope.
I was reading into this because I was quiet and sullen. Mooney asked me right away how my day was going. Rough. I had talked with a friend and it had been harder than I had imagined it would be. A conversation where you return things to each other like an overdue book exchange, handing back the borrowed pages.
I had slept more hours than my body really needed trying to resort things in my head. I needed to get out. Then Mooney, my older brother, texted. "Hike in Shingletown?"
The woods. The creek. The light. The green. It restored something. It was a perfect day. Everything looked like it shown in its own light.
We didn't say much as we walked. I was thinking. He didn't bother me. Just the ocasional, "What a beautiful day!"
Then I was attacked. He brandished his walking stick. "Find a weapon! On guard!" I grabbed a wet stick that he beat to the handle in a few blows, while I I cried for mercy, giggling at my inevitable defeat. He fake stabbed me and the fight was over.
We found some landscape art. Someone had come by and arranged large rocks in a carefully balanced tower. It said, "I came by. Look, the earth is beautiful." We said aliens had come and changed the order of things.
I began climbing on things. Touching trees as I passed them. Letting my body weight fall with a thumb as I jumped from logs onto the waiting path. I tried to push Mooney into the stream. I started playing.
It was the light, the creek, the green, the woods.
And it was good.
And it was good.