This is a land story.
Now I know, I know, I'm always telling land stories but these are my truth. When my feet wander trails tracked only by elk, when the dusk turns snowy peaks sherbet, when creek thaw and lichen mingle in my hair, something happens in my chest. It's like ten thousand tiny shutters flap open and all that is good in me sees all that is grand on earth.
It begins with coffee, as all great stories do, and a sturdy pair of rubber boots. It begins with the Ridge at your back and the Mountain to your left. You stroll along the treeline, boots squishing wetly in the constant rivulets and still pools, dogs crashing a zig-zag in front. You train your eyes to follow a circuit: gaze the skies (watch the geese in tight formation, watch the solitary eagle lazily circling), back to the trees (they're bare now, look for the dark wedge of nests), sweep the ground (you're bound to find an antler soon), scan the horizon (breath in the mountain cold). Feel the spring of moss; of course this will make your hands dirty, of course a couple winged things will flutter up, but nothing beats that touch. Jump hard when the dogs accidentally flush a northern spotted owl just fifteen feet to the right, and call out your thanks and apologies. Pluck that cluster of bright white hair from the thorny brambles and tuck it in a pocket, you'll figure it out later. Take that green and sun-aged piece of hipbone, leave it in the birch grove (because you know that is holy ground). And when you finally turn back and take the long way, leave a single strand of hair in exchange for your full heart.
The Huntress Ring
(sterling silver and Arizona Morenci turquoise)