valerie rosenfeld

In the middle of our fifteen hour drive, my Swiss friend points out the sweeping view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I look at them rising up out of the horizon and I see why they were named. The ridges that cross back and forth over miles of stone look blue. Though this is not a deep realization, its obviousness delights me. I am always slightly giddy when I realize the origin of names and words. It is like a sneak peak behind the curtain of things. What I took to be always like this actually had an origin, a date of birth before which it was unnamed.

in the still of night
a deer stands at the edge
of the road
who she is isn’t known
especially to herself

To my friend, these mountains stirred the ocean of her bodily memory and she felt the life of the Alps once again. I was happy for her because the mountains remind her of who she is, where she began, what she came from. But though I can recognize their beauty, they leave me feeling flat. I cannot internalize their grandeur or reach to the sky within myself by being in their presence. I feel cold and wonder if I would feel any different before a concrete wall than this ancient stone. I am unhappy with myself for feeling nothing.

the taste of coffee
stale on my lips
I can’t help but wonder
will it ever taste
new again

As we drive deeper into the night, my driving companions notice something going on to the east. One of them says it is a ski resort. I turn to look and my heart lifts. The snow covered mountain is lit with lights. Miles away I see evidence of snow makers. Snow is blowing all over the mountain in the wind. And the whole mountain shines in whiteness out of the dark night. I remark that I think it is just beautiful and my friends ask me why. Who am I? I ask myself. It is the same question.

The ski mountain reaches to the sky just like the Blue Ridge Mountains. But this one is covered with snow which erases all distinction. Maybe it is a picture of awareness that is also oneness. When the machines are out on the mountain making snow, it is for people to ski on. There is life too on the mountain. And the whole thing is lit up with lights. Maybe the image speaks of possibility, of hope. Who am I?

waiting at home
the old mirror shattered
in my absence
I am secretly elated
that it is gone

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