Every once in awhile this is the view from our kitchen window on bright mornings on the farm. However, Mount Baker has been absent and elusive for the past week, shrouded in a sheath of heavy gray clouds. As we try to explain to a visitor from Michigan, “the mountain is RIGHT THERE” pointing vaguely to a horizon of foothills and cloud banks. “Sure, ” she says, unconvinced. “If you say so…”
On the mornings that the mountain shows her face, it is a terrific start to the day. There is a reassuring sense of steadfast permanence in a mountain’s standing proud and true over the valleys at her feet.
Unless you are looking at a volcano which likes to puff tendrils of steam on cold crisp mornings (as Mount Baker sometimes does).
Unless you lived thirty years ago at the feet of Mount St. Helens (only a couple hundred miles to the south).
As much as I long for the mountain to return from her vacation during these cloudy dreary days on her west side, I enjoy thinking about the sun on her east side, where the skies are usually clear and blue, and where the warmth causes her snowy coat to start to drip and melt into the rivers.
Today, on one of her snowy shoulders, hundreds of Ski to Sea Race teams are forming at this hour for the start of their day long race that will bring them on skis, runners, bikes, canoes and kayaks down to Bellingham Bay.
The mountain is still up there all right. There are just some days when we have to prove it by physically touching her face.