Sunday, July 26, 2020

I am a Mountain Troll?

“Mommy, who was that man who just walked by and said Hello?” the little boy asked his mother.  She paused her singing - a beautiful sound, a Spanish melody with all of the melancholy and tenderness of a wood thrush, maternal instinct personified, fiercely loving today, sad that children grow up, yet with an eternal aspect as old as these mountains we were hiking in - and said “Uh...he’s a nature lover.”  

  Wrong.  I could be a mountain troll.  

  Bucket in hand, ratty blue Adidas on my feet, a baseball cap wrapped in a print of galaxies perched on my birds’ nest hair, I was ambling down the trail when I stopped to say hello to a family passing, and perplexed the young son.  

  Something about me.  Maybe I’m a mountain troll. Perhaps it’s just a touch from a time far ago.  I heard there’s some Siberian in my blood, and who knows what missed.  I was 15 and a friend of the family jokingly suggested a nickname of “Trollboy.”  Water droplets condense on a mote of dust borne aloft in a cloud to form a raindrop.  Maybe nicknames coalesce around a kernel of truth.  I mean, I tell myself I’m just friendly, but there I am, lurking by the brook, gnawing on a granola bar, furry legs plunked in the cool stream, half an eye out for trout.  A crowd of small boys disturbs my reverie, but I amble up along the rocks with an amenable greeting.  “The water’s perfect!”, my hair dripping from a forest canyon baptism. Other hikers catch glimpses of me, lumbering up the grade between trees and rocks, muttering to myself.  “If “God” could be thought of as the Transcendent, Jesus as the archetypical example of a human, and the Devil as what comes to life with a constant aiming of Down, that case, I’d subscribe to that notion, yes.”  (Mountain trolls are not to be confused with bridge trolls, mind you.)  

  It happened later on, too.  The little boy couldn’t look away, his feet barely traversing the rocks as he raised his gaze, up, up, up, from his height of two feet to my uphill six.  
“That’s a nice hat, buddy!”  

“Mommy - who was that man?”  

Anybody see any trout? I could go for a snack.   

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