With prayers and ghosts I stepped out the door, on pilgrimage to the sleeping goddess of fire, the slumbering giant known in modern times as Mt. Tabor.
Street by street I made my way from the high plateau of Northeast Portland, down, across the long East-West throat, formerly named “Sullivan’s Gulch”, but now christened by circular rubber feet “I-84”. Through back ways and sheltered alleys I walked, and the ancestors whispers went with me, past the two young raccoons playing hookey in the midday sun, past the starling with the enormous red berry in its beak, held above a circle of straining babies’ necks. Past averted eyes, past smiles, until at last I reached her feet.
Mounting her sides step by step, across mown grass, up stair, through ivy and underneath Douglas Fir, around churning lakes of drinking water, bent over in caution against a slippery slope of slick earth between the blackberry thorns, until I crested her upon her shoulder and heard her children calling in the voices of woodpeckers and restive crows.
There I met the Urban Scout, and together we did what we could to redeem the years of thoughtlessness, speaking beautiful words, shooting arrows of delight, making holy wounds in her and in ourselves. Looking west, we saw the greening spine of the hills beyond the river, the sun amongst the trees, the clouds grazing across the blue of the sky.
We left our small gifts there upon her shoulder, and made our way back, back, knowing we had only just begun to sing songs, tell stories, and walk roads.