Vain + Alone on top of WQENNELEL (Sencoten for “looking up”)
Two pounds of silver ’round my waist,
All my angels and demons chased,
Breathless here around my feet,
Enjoying the truce.
The walk up this mountain (known today as Mt.Finlayson…not even remotely as attractive a name as its’ First Nations counterpart) was not really thought out. It was meant to be a short walk in the woods before a gig. I was wearing the clothes I’d perform in and those boots (caught so nicely here) are what I call “city boots” and have no right to be hiking up and down a mountain. The two pounds of silver refers to a belt a friend had given me that is made with 10 large silver conches. And those are skinny jeans I’m wearing: all these are things no Mountain Equipment Co-Op would suggest for a hike.
To be honest, I was climbing for my father. Didn’t start out that way, but it’s what it became. I’d just gotten word that he was dying and climbing a mountain was not something he’d be doing again. So, I guess I thought I’d do it for him. I climbed with a ferocity, though. Not a serene thought in my head. I climbed like I was going to kick the shit out of whatever I found up there. The mountain has been blasphemed by a golf course and condo community. God only knows what the fuck they were thinking, putting that stuff there. It is right shocking when you come up on it before heading to the summit, and sure enough, at the top you need to turn your back on the monstrosity.
Most of whatever anger that had accompanied me on the way up had left me before I got to the top…a function of the fact that I was completely exhausted from the effort. I was alone. Dutifully, I obeyed my Vanity and began to set up the phone for a few shots, even though I was a sweaty mess and out of breath. In a while a few young people joined me at the top, smart enough to have been carrying back packs and canteens, wearing sensible boots and shorts, one of them carrying what looked like an expensive camera around his neck. I almost asked him to take some shots for me, but…that’d be breaking the rules.
So, I swallowed my pride (it is hard to hide your vanity sharing the top of a mountain with a few other folk) and started prouncing around, shot after shot.
I like what I got: it is a fitting photo to mark the day, and I sent it to my father as soon as I took it.