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Mountain Bones

By Nick Wittkofski

Our lives have been very busy over the past 5 months, filled with workshops, classes, hikes, food, farming, and an activity called Finding Your Place, which would sometimes have an educational aspect to it (like when Aaron dug a soil pit and taught us about the different layers and types of soil), but typically was a time for us to look inward and become present.

This past Tuesday, Anna Tracht led an exercise in which we all went our separate ways and found something to write about or draw for thirty minutes. I highly recommend this exercise to anyone; it’s a lot of fun! If you choose to do it, just make sure to keep your pen moving for the entire thirty minutes!

I chose one of the many boulders that live on the mountain. While my original text is a stream of consciousness, I’m editing this, because it is just too unpolished the way it exists in my notebook.

“This Boulder, it sits on the edge of the mountain, retaining the weathered, gentle, but nevertheless mighty summit. It is an amalgamation of many slabs, of what can only be prehistory mud or sea floor. But here it exists, perched in the sky, as a plane of existence for many delicate ferns, mosses, lichens, and an adolescent red maple.

In the gaps behind it may be a shelter or home for any manner of small creatures.

It is still. Unmoving. But at the same time, it feels mildly precarious. Almost as if while it holds back the Earth long enough for the forest to take root, the forest in turn holds it back from a long tumble down the side of the mountain.

It is now Fall, and the leaves dapple the ground in a beautiful mosaic of browns, yellows, reds, maroons, muted purples. And here, this boulder rises up contrasting itself to this Autumnal composition with greys and whites, and a rigid linear movement that comes from the layers of slabs of which it is constituted. Countless trees–Red and White Oaks, Sugar, Striped and Red Maples, Beeches and Black Locusts rise like long thin fingers from the slop, disappearing in the leaves that have yet to fall from the canopy. Those leaves still flutter in the cool and gentle breeze. Some sort of soft dance.

Winter is coming, and the boulder will once again see its cousins across the valley on the other mountain.”

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