Mountains (repeat)

By Erin Slaughter

September 18, 2017

Mountains (repeat)

It is always almost raining. That’s something they never tell you about Seattle; they talk about the rain, but not the days the air holds its breath. Over the phone, Grandma asks if I can see Mount Baker from my window. To me, the mountains are still intimidating and holy. I haven’t yet learned to live among them as domestic creatures, the way we forget that house-cats are made of lions. 

Grandma tells a story: “When we visited Tacoma, Steve was a toddler. We saw Mount Baker off in the distance, and he said, ‘Ma, why’s it floating?’ I explained there was a cloud in the way. He didn’t believe me.” 

It has been long enough that when she says, “Steve,” I don’t immediately think, “my father who is dead now,” but I can imagine the little boy, blonde and pantalooned, and his conviction in the truth of floating mountains.

I can laugh, and do. I’ve long since domesticated grief and whatever grief turns into. Grief the cat, rarely resembling grief the lion. 

There’s only so much to say about grief before it becomes something separate, something that lives on its own in the world and has little to do with you. Even the word grief sounds tedious, like trying to make conversation while walking uphill. There is only so much distance available to us--behind, between, before. And after us. 

Above the streets of Beacon Hill, the sky exhales. I gulp down frozen air and hold my breath.


Image provided By Dllu - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikipedia's Creative Commons license. 

Comments (8) - Post a Comment
Domesticated grief, a cat not a lion, what a gift that image is. Thank you.
Kat at 8:32am EDT - September 18, 2017
Simply gorgeous. Thank you.
TCMB at 12:32pm EDT - September 18, 2017
beautiful imagery in this short piece. Thank you.
Julie Lambert at 2:46pm EDT - September 18, 2017
So good... perfect in this small form and so interesting trailing into ideas of grief becoming something else... "tedious... like trying to make conversation while walking uphill" - recognize that but would never have thought those words to say it - thank you.
Andrea Mummert at 2:57pm EDT - September 18, 2017
“Even the word grief sounds tedious, like trying to make conversation while walking uphill.” So much amazing stuff here. Thank you.
Anne Pinkerton at 3:07pm EDT - September 18, 2017
So beautiful. Thank you for these gentle images.
Laura at 12:36pm EDT - September 19, 2017
What a gorgeous essay. It's hard to pick a favorite line, but mine would be "There's only so much to say about grief ..." Thank you.
Sarah Curtis Graziano at 6:10pm EDT - November 3, 2017
The word choice is so mezmorizing and the whole piece was just heart-breakingly beautiful. It is written so gracefuly.
Regina Hsu at 3:11pm EDT - October 15, 2018

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