I jest, but only lightly.
These many hikes deep into the gorge, even standing at the top of a mountain gobsmacked by the views, I contemplate what it means about me. It is human nature, I think, to examine everything in relation to ourselves and our own lives. Initially, the mountain meant I was getting stronger, my spine was healing, my willingness to be cold, wet, muddy, tired, hungry and uncomfortable was growing. These are all good things, but still, all about me.
After a while, the hikes became an exercise in how long two (or more) humans can slog through extreme conditions over many miles and still enjoy each other's company, or tolerate silence, or maintain conversation. (The answer is: it's easy if you're of like minds) But it still wasn't about the mountain.
But recently, on hike with extreme wind and some challenging mud and cold, it became more about the mountain. The mountain and its unyieldingly treacherous face. The mountain and its stony, jagged skin and sinewy fingers at its windswept summit. The mountain and its voice in burbling streams and thundering waterfalls. The mountain and its behemoth body, both sheltering from wind and blocking the warmth of the sun.
Perhaps I am, finally, learning...
About the art: the end of a hike found me in Hood River exploring a small gallery in which there were a number of charcoal drawings on bare wood. Intrigued, I had to run to the studio and grab the charcoal and a wood panel. I added a limited palette of acrylic paint to the base drawing with a palette knife, fingers and a paper towel. Once dry, the entire piece was sprayed with a sealer to protect the exposed charcoal. I really like the effect, so will be exploring this again.