At the ancient stone circles in the United Kingdom, the shape of the stones often mirrors the surrounding land. It’s both awe-inspiring and eerie. The magic held inside the sacred structures, which extend far, far beyond the more widely visited circles, is quite something to behold. I have written of this before in posts that speak of the magic, and also of the deep longing and sense of home I feel in these sacred places. Living in New Hampshire, where the land, itself, is no less ancient, but the magic has always felt more illusive and gentle, at best, I have recently made a vow with myself to find it. It seems necessary, vital almost.
A couple of weeks ago, I hiked Mt. Cardigan with a friend of mine. Being a long distance runner, who regularly runs 50 miles through mountainous terrain for pleasure, she does not adhere to a leisurely walking pace. Not that walking up a mountain is all that leisurely, but you can understand that it would not be particularly easy to pause and look. To really take in the surroundings, and the feel of land. Not that I had told her I wanted to. We were here to hike, and so we did. Besides, it was a beautiful day and the mountain trail was filled with people.
I would have to wait until we reached the summit to stop and take note. Although it was a beautiful, partly sunny day, it was very windy on the top of the mountain, whose granite peak is exposed to the element in a way that leads one feeling uncomfortable and a bit raw. Like you could blow over the edge if you didn’t watch your step. There is also nowhere to really sit, comfortably. But we made do, finding a fairly sheltered cove where we could eat our sandwiches and chat while our behinds gradually went numb against the granite ledge.
I noticed the tiny bird from the corner of my eye almost immediately. It looked like a junco, with its white breast and gray-black over-coat, but I could not be sure. It stayed just far enough away so that it could be sure I was aware. Looking over at us often. It was the only bird, as far as I could tell, on the mountaintop, and its attention was clearly focused our way.
Because I do not see this particular friend often, and we always have a lot of catching up to do, I tried to devote my focus primarily on her, and our conversation, but the bird kept its watch, and I noted its presence from the corner of my eye. When we rose to prepare our descent, I took a photograph of our winged friend, and noted only later, what the image exposed.
A few more photographs were snapped as I tried to get a panoramic copy of the landscape around the mountain without, once again, really knowing what the images might later reveal.
Continue reading: Finding Magic in the Land: Mt. Cardigan