Sentinels

They stand, serene sentinels of the land. Old as time, they move to the whims of the earth. Looming, they watch, seeing all.

Unfazed by the winds and the fires and the raging waters, they are silent and still. Stone.

Ever gazing, immortal dwellers undaunted by the passing of years. By the ravaging fires and the trembling ground. By the rise and fall of cities. Of civilizations.

They are there, scattered upon the land, almost haphazard in their placement. Chains of them. Others lone. Peaks pointed like a wolf’s crying maw, silhouetted by the tranquil moon.

And when they tire, they gather the clouds, hiding the world below from view. And they rest their weary eyes for a while till once more they are ready. So they allow the clouds to rain down. They smile in trees and gleaming snow. And year after year, life after life, they watch, dedicated, guardians.

Said the Tortoise

Grouse Grind

My muscles strain as I force myself over another large boulder. I grasp the root ahead of me for balance. I can feel my legs burning, my lungs on fire. Still I push on, eyes fixed in front of me. Only the sound of my own harsh breathing reaches my ears.

My old record is taunting me, laughing at each pained step I take. I nearly growl as I urge myself to go faster. I can rest when I reach the top.

Five minutes and I’ll be there.

I manage to pass a fellow hiker. Then someone passes me. I can see the light between the trees, a beacon of accomplishment. Almost there.

One more minute. One last turn.

I see a man standing at the side of the trail, stance relaxed, waiting, perhaps stopping to catch his breath.

“Don’t stop now!” I pant, encouraging. “the top is right there!”

He glances at me and smiles. “why rush,” He replies. “It is good to just be here.” A thick Italian accent lilts his words.

My steps falter, and my eyes stray sideways. Vivid greens and browns greet my eyes, and the freshness of the mountain air pervades my nose.

Don’t we sometimes get so caught up in what we’re doing that we forget the beauty around us? Competition and goals are important, but so is enjoying yourself. To try and find joy in whatever you are doing.