West Mountain Wisdom

24 Apr

west mt 2

I never know when I’ll find myself on that mountain.  Going there is more instinct than thought.  West Mountain draws me like a magnet, but before leaving Seabrook, Texas, it was the Seabrook Ship Yard that called my name.

seabrook shipyard 1

 A small winding road off Hiway146, oftentimes under water from impulsive tides and persistent land erosion, faithfully led me past yachts moored in covered shelters, and sailboats loosely attached to floating piers, opening like a subtle bloom into a grassy field lined with pink and red oleanders and a fine assortment of lazy palms.  I’ve parked my old Chevy a thousand times at the point overlooking an arm of Clear Lake that passes beneath the fancy Kemah Bridge, merging unceremoniously with the Gulf Bay.  The bay runs for miles and miles through small, scattered coastal towns on its way to Galveston Island, where it explodes in deep blues and, closer to shore, unassuming hues of sienna and umber.

I was exploring my new neighborhood nearly 30 years ago when I stumbled across this perfect oasis, a comforting hidden harbor that seemed to sense my need for soothing isolation.  We’d lost a child I was emotionally attached to in the busy pediatric hospital where I worked.  Christopher was a ward of the state.  He was fair with soft blond hair and amazing blue eyes, and in spite of a myriad of physical disabilities and disease, he managed to ignore the ventilator pumping breath through his tattered, fragile lungs, and the tracheostomy and feeding tubes he’d endured from birth, to play happily, most days, in his crib.

Everyone loved Chris, but Chris was my baby in the sense that I’d cared for him as a student nurse, and then joined the unit he called home when my studies were complete.  I’d shared almost all of his tiny, 2 year old baby life and was so much richer for the gift of having the opportunity to do so.

Christopher died on my day off, and no one had thought to call me.  It was just an oversight, everyone thought someone else had called me; it happens.  When I showed up for my shift and his bed was empty, I was devastated to learn we’d lost this delightful, brave child, andI  took it to heart the same way I took every death I co-experienced throughout my nursing career, each being deeply personal and intensely important to me.

So the day after I’d learned Christopher had died, I discovered my own safe haven and thereafter, for many, many years to come, found myself sitting in its tall, thick grasses, the salty/fishy scent of the sea filling my head with naturalness and inner peace.  Every visit I made transformed loss into peace, and helped ground me emotionally.

seabrook shipyard2

The Seabrook Ship Yard was my growing place.  My wounds healed there.  The chaos and drama of external life and qiet intuitive inner life met there, supporting each other as I worked to define what kind of woman I wanted to be.

Now I live in the mountains and these deep silent woods transform me once again.  Every time I visit the Peak of West Mountain, I discover a new truth or remember a long forgotten piece of intuitive knowledge I’ve misplaced along life’s long, jagged highway.  Sitting high above the city amongst dogwood, pine, maple and great elms, I am suddenly surrounded by everyone I have ever loved, each perfect soul already having completed his worldly journey.

I hear their voices in woodland sounds and see their bright shining faces smiling back at me from a deep canopy of trees. I feel their presence in every pore of my skin, and every hair on my head. Every time my little car climbs that beautiful mountain, the Universe challenges me to see things differently, and challenges me to walk directly into the fire unafraid.

Those who have come before me give me the vision to realize nothing is impossible, and they remind me that every little thing that happens in this life offers another chance to grow.

I scattered the ashes of my ex-husband on that mountain.  He’s growing wild and carefree in those woods, and each wound he suffered, self-inflicted or absorbed by the blunt intentional force of others, heals cleanly, mends wholly.  His memory and triumphs are born again with each new season.

Curving up West Mountain2

Today as I rounded the final curve going up the peak, my iPod began playing Amazing Grace.  I chuckled to myself.  The song got it right, I was blind but now I see; but the song doesn’t go nearly far enough.  I can hear too, and I can understand; but mostly, I can feel.  And here on this perfect piece of sacred earth, I can share what I’ve learned with others.  I sat on the mountain for a long while.  The longer I stayed, the calmer I felt.  When I began descending, another song clicked on the iPod, but that’s another story for another day.



10 Responses to “West Mountain Wisdom”

  1. ittymac April 24, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

    I love that you love my work. You know I love yours too. Whenever I need inspiration, I reread your posts.

  2. Claudia Anderson April 24, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    I am so happy to see you writing again. I wish I had a beautiful inspirational place that calls my soul home. But then again, I do live in the country, and every forgotten barn, every wandering trail, beckons me to follow. I love the feeling of that moment when you really connect with the universe — with yourself. I always feel your magic. And I’ve missed you…

    • ittymac April 24, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

      I’m always cataloging things to share on my blog inside my brain. That’s asking for trouble! I’ve got a list of broken sentences scrolled across otherwise empty pages in my notebook but I’m finding I’m no longer very good at multitasking or staying focused on any one thing for more than 10 minutes! Lol!

      But I am a hopeless dreamer, Claudia, and in the midst of the wreckage of my life I began writing a new novel because I’m at the point where I understand the true value of insanity; it’s something I can always count on to pull myself together! 😊

  3. April April 25, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    I can feel the peace you find through your words. I especially liked your paragraph of noting being impossible—“little thing that happens in this life offers another chance to grow”. A great way to look at life. I like that!

    • ittymac April 25, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

      It puts a positive spin on things when I’m in the deep end of the pool.

  4. 2ndhalfolife April 27, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

    I was so warmed to see a post Itty dear. And do I see a new hair do? 🙂 Lovely words as always… I too find ‘peace on earth’–whether by water or on a mountain or in the woods. There’s nothing like our mother to sooth us. Gigantic hug.

    • ittymac April 27, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

      I love love LOVE those gigantic hugs!!!!

      • 2ndhalfolife April 28, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

        You can have two! 🙂

  5. ittymac April 28, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    Cool! Thanks, Lynette.


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