Conversation with the Wilderness
Austin Boston | Hong Rui Choo
I stand among the brush staring at the sky, listening to mirror-clear water dribble down from a desert spring, looking at the mountain, strips of sandstone and red rocks powdered with trees and dust. The mountain taunts me, saying “You’ll never be as wise as me, I’ve been sitting here for thousands of years, I watched you people build your town and pollute your air but it doesn’t matter to me, you’ll be gone long before I am,” whereas the brush says, “Grow, grow, grow!” The creek water says, “Renew yourself!” and the animals hidden in their burrows say nothing, they can’t talk (this is no Disney movie dig?) and the sky big blue beautiful whines, “I’m hungry, let me just eat you up, my mouth is big enough for all your worlds to fit in sixty times over,” and here I sit on this rock painting eyeballs and trees wondering what’s it like to be a mountain, and an old tree a mile away calls out, “Hey Austin or Boston or whoever you are or wherever you’re from, come pick my berries and be a child and live like everything is new,” and the rocks in the creek bed scream out, “You call yourself balanced but you can’t be so small yet as large as we are,” and the mountain says, “They have a point, kid,” and the bushes around me keep chanting, “Grow grow grow!” and the sky, having already eaten us, contently whispers, “You’re still here, see?” And all the while I’m standing barefoot in the creek bed, seeing my hand four inches down in the pool, clear and pure and full of energy, energy that makes me feel oh so alone.
“Move,” says the wind. I see my hand four inches down in the pool and forget my past, the only thing that ever mattered is right now, a newborn peaking through past the womb and into the world, and I poked through, if only for a moment, to see beyond this earth, this rock, this planet and the wind says, “Listen.” Then the mountain says, “You’ll see. Or you might never see.”
I take that comment and throw it back. “You’ve always seen, Mountain! How can you know what it’s like not to see?! How can you know what it’s like to doubt it all? To not believe in it?” to which the Mountain big heavy brown says “Childe, I’ve been around much longer than you think.”