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  • Writer's pictureeschaden

Poems from the Mountain

Every year when my daughter and I hike up to the top of a mountain in Big Sur, we spend time there, yogaing, laughing, laying on our backs and looking at the sky. We talk and play with the dog. We have a picnic and are just us under a sheltering sky.

Every year since I have been going to Big Sur in February, I have written a poem. It may sound strange but it just comes to me: the urge to write the poem, the words of the poem and it just kind of happens...

I am not particularly proseful or poetic. I just feel compelled every year at this time and the words just come. I don’t know if they are “good” poems or not. But I like them. They seem to encapsulate the poignancy of the moment I am living. It is nice to go back and review. A poem a year is not a great literary feat but it is my contribution.

Here is this year’s addition:

This year is different.

She is different.

I am different.

The planet.


The change of different immense

The world was a different world

We were different people.

Not better

Not worse

Just very different

Impossible for me to say which I prefer

What combination of us would be preferable to the us of now.

Her then

Me now

Me then

Her some other variation

She still hates hiking.

Yet we return to the mountain again

Year after year

A pilgrimage to mother-daughterhood

One leading.

One following.

Me never being really sure whose is leading, who is following...

We find ourselves again in older skin and different bodies.

Hers moving toward life

Mine moving closer to death

I feel the gap more this year.

Between her and me.

The gap wider this time

feels less bridgeable than years past

Is she gone to the teenage years where I am not a confidant, not a friend?

Is it permanent or just a phase?

Time will tell I suppose.

Different sameness.

The love I feel for her is truly all that remains of who we were.

New skin.

New flesh.

New eyes.

So much of us everywhere

I write, while she climbs a tree

She still climbs trees

So the little girl I’ve raised is still in there somewhere...

Please God, keep her alive and well for all the days of her life

May that life be long and happy

Never let her lose the quest for knowledge in life

that can only be found whilst climbing a tree.

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