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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Mountains (09/20/04)

TITLE: Mountain Haze
By Randy Chambers
09/26/04

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I had planned for this time—this perfect time—for months. My wife was at a work related function, and I was reveling in the solitude and possibility of uninterrupted time to write. It was our first morning in Denver, and as soon as I woke, I opened the hotel room window drapes. I had not seen the mountains for nearly thirty years. Though I was older, taller, and somewhat less impressed by the world around me, the mountains still seemed larger than life.

I hurried through my routines, excited to return to the window to watch the haze lift. The snow peaks glistened in the morning sun and hugged the mountaintops. The haze began to clear. I slowly sipped my coffee—seduced and drawn in, I could not break my gaze.

My mind withdrew to retrieve thoughts faded by the many years. Childhood adventures to the rocky peaks, cold mountain streams, rushing waterfalls, and thoughts of snowball fights in mid July, warmed my heart. A part of my age of innocence lay buried in those purple palisades.

In the passing moments, the haze further dissipated, revealing foothills and pine-covered ridges. Each peak fought to distinguish itself from the crowd of Goliaths. Their snowcaps became blinding to look upon directly. Abstract to concrete—surreal to real—clouded to clear—my thoughts began to organize. It was time to write.

I turned on the laptop, poured another cup of coffee, and eased into the chair making adjustments until comfortably ready. I stared at the display. The display stared back. The cursor blinked incessantly, “Write something. Write something. Write something. Write something…”

Some days, the words are there. The very ones you are searching for to aptly convey a thought, feeling, or image. It’s like they are hanging from unseen branches in the air around—just waiting to be plucked, and tasted—and enjoyed. And then there are those other times: the times when you can be surrounded by inspiration but sit dazed, staring off who knows where.

I had soon forgotten all about the blinking cursor and was again held captive by the view. I drifted—absorbed into the scenery. Time was finally on my side, and yet I seemed to be doing time rather than redeeming it. Hours passed and I had produced nothing. I felt the words were there, but I couldn’t see anything but the mountains.

The next day, my wife and I set out toward the mountains. There were a couple of places I had been as a child and wanted to revisit. Our time limited our potential progress, but we determined to make it as far as we could.

The blended lines and curves I had seen from the hotel room began to take shape. Dots became trees. Ravines became river ways. The two-dimensional range acquired depth and revealed buildings, cities, streams and waterfalls concealed behind the ridges and peaks.

Before long, we came to a city I had visited as a boy—though I would not have known it had it not been for the sign. The tourist spot once capitalized off of its history as a gold mining town. Now it was filled with casinos—another gold mine of sorts, I suppose.

As we drove back to the hotel, and the mountains became smaller, they began to look just like they had looked all my life. I thought about our trip and considered what I might write. I realized that, just like in life, there were some things I was only able to enjoy once I got beyond the mountains. I also noticed some things I was happy to let the mountains keep hidden. I suppose the mountains will always be there, as well as what’s concealed behind them.

Sometimes the words are there—hidden beyond the foothills, between the peaks and streams. To look upon the mountain range from a distance was a site to be seen, for sure. But waiting there within, a treasure I would not had ever known if we would not have ventured in. Townships built on mountainsides, roads adjacent to winding streams, the changes since my boyhood mountain trips: every part revealed a story in itself. And in the telling of such mountainous tales whether by author’s word or artist’s brush, I knew it was no small endeavor. But I knew it would certainly be a task well worth its weight in gold.


Member Comments
Member Date
L.M. Lee09/27/04
wow what a great way to look at writer's block and finding the words despite it! good piece!
Angie Schulte09/27/04
Randy: I Lived in Colorado my senior year of High School and those mountains gave me such a sense of peace and awe. They are so big and amazing. As I was reading your story, I envied your moment alone in the mountains. Thanks for taking me back. Sometimes, memories are enough to bring back a sense of peace. Thanks!
Norma OGrady09/28/04
Love the title
great write
Yeshua bless
Norma
Carol Shaffron09/28/04
Thanks for this view through your eyes. It's so awe inspiring and i can almost see it as if I'm right there too
Lucian Thompson10/02/04
Randy, You take me back to the days I lived in the town of Shenandoah, Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There is no mountain valley as beautiful as the Shenandoah Valley. The mountain top experiences I had there still haunt my memories today. Thank for the trip back. Well written!