The mountain spoke to her. She started to hear the mountain’s first word before she knew how to say her own. It sounded somewhat like a long drawn out “s”, or the sighing of the wind between its peaks. You had to not move and be very quiet to hear it. Adults always confused it for the wind, but she didn’t.
By the time she was able to walk on her own her family had hiked this way many times. It was harder to hear the mountain’s word because all the rocks, grass and bugs were just so interesting. It was hard to sit in one place long enough to hear.
Later she couldn’t hear the word at all. She didn’t try. She moved up the trail like she drove her car. So familiar with its hills and curves that she didn’t have to think about it. Her mind was busy thinking about a mortgage, starting a family and a career. But it was always there.
Now, she has hiked this trail more times than she remembers. She showed her children the trail like her parents had shown her. It’s hard to hike up here now, it takes a lot longer. The ache in her knees and hips try to pull her away from the word of the mountain but now she can hear it again. She stands motionless and patient as the sound of the mountain’s word passes over her and rustles her hair. This is the last time she will visit the mountain so she stands for as long as she can. Waiting for the mountain to finish its word. “Stillness.”