This week's suggestion was from Dana:
Every time they take a mouthful, it tickles me and I would shiver with laughter if I dared, but the danger is far too great. It is why we mountains are notorious for our lack of humor. It’s drilled out of us when we are young.
Don’t feel sorry for me. I learned the hard way.
I was only a century old when I fell in love. When you’re pure rock and earth, your main companion is the constant wind that drifts across your face. Winds are lofty and snobbish. They don’t care to associate with the landbound, let alone the land itself. It has ever been thus. They whisper their gossip to each other, the sound just unintelligible enough to drive those within earshot mad. I tried not to listen to them, but you see, without the winds, there’s nothing. The clouds are too far above and the trees are too far below. The occasional bird would pass by and perhaps would stop to share news from across the world, but beyond that, nothing. If only I were part of a range.
But I’m not.
I’m just a lone mountain keeping watch over the verdant hills and I have been for ages. Only once…once, there was something besides the wind. Once, there was a song. It was faint at first, so faint that I thought I was imagining it. It grew, floating through the air, indolent and unhurried. I bathed in its beauty, letting it wash over me like melodic sunshine.
A young human came. He started low at my base he was accompanied by a pair of goats. He was a brawny figure of a human, I suppose, thick arms and a full head of hair. He strode with confidence, his muscles contracting and relaxing. The trio appeared to have no specific destination, their amblings weaving back and forth across my surface.
It was from the human that the music emerged. His mouth was open and with every breath, more glorious vibrations filled the air. He sang softly to his goats, then burst forth with a surprising powerful lilt that made the goats pick up speed, skipping and bouncing along in rhythm. They bleated their joy, their voices raised in harmonic counterpart to the song. There was merriment in his song; it always held the barest hint of laughter just below the surface. It infected everything around him. Even the winds seemed to silence in the face of such artistry. It crept into my bones, crawled along my nerves, set fire to my brain in a euphonic explosion.
And I dreamed.
I dreamed the collision of stars, copulating in violent ecstasy. I dreamed of the oldest mountains, forming from the deepest crusts of earth as an afterbirth of heated lava flowed overland. I dreamed of life’s tentative spark, cautiously creeping from the blackest depths to blink in terror at the harsh light. The entire history of time raced through my mind, shifting and torqueing in upon itself, each event a note in the symphony of ages.
Ever present, just below, was the wonderful cachinnation that infected every trill. I didn’t mean to, but I couldn’t help it. It was just…overpowering. I felt euphoric and it bubbled up from within.
I started to laugh.
It began as a trickle. Just the tiniest chuckle of amusement hidden deep within a wash of happiness. The trickle grew to a stream. Lost in the pleasure, I didn’t even consider the consequences. The laughter raced through me, my skin rippling with the force of it. Before I was aware, the rocks near my peak began to shift and roll. My merriment stopped almost immediately as I realized what was happening, but by then it was too late. Lithic and lethal, they sped along my surface. The winds chased them, hollering with reckless abandon. It hurt, but the throes of terror had taken hold and chased all other feeling away. I retreated from the feeling and reached down inside for the tiniest sprig of hope, coaxing it, willing it to blossom.
That was when the song stopped.
The winds took off; bird frightened into flight. In their wake came a silence that was deafening, oppressive. It rushed into the vacuum left by the music and filled it up with gleeful schadenfreude. It thickened the air.
Despair, damp and weighty, settled in. I could feel the human lying against my skin, his body heavy with the lost promise of youth. I wanted to weep, but just as I was ready to give myself over, I heard the soft bleat of a goat. Afraid to move, I held myself still. There was an answering bleat.
They were alive.
Relief flooded through me, immediately followed by guilt. Did I have the right to feel any relief after what I had just done? I didn’t know, but I couldn’t help feeling glad that the goats were still with me. The young human became a part of me and his song echoes in my heart.
That was over a century ago. The goats are a full herd now and I am home to them. I provide them shelter and sustenance. They trust me more than I could ever trust myself again. I love them and they bring me great joy, but my love is guarded now.
I will never lose control again.