The wind blows hard and the snow is shoved down my mouth, it taste like shaved ice, but a little bitter. I close my mouth and bury my face in the shaggy neck of my ride welcoming the relief from the blowing snow, but it smells like wet dog that just came out of a fetid swamp. The mammoth head sways left and right in cadence with each step, the massive curved tusks looking like the tines of a forklift, but so much more sinuous and elegant. I’ve learned to ride with the rhythm leaning left as the mammoth head sways to the right, leaning forward on the uphills and leaning back on the down.
mindful of the hidden brook that gurgles under a wooden landing, thick ferns and bushes, mindful of slippery footing in the muddy puddle of hiking boot depressions, mindful of pricking thorny raspberry bushes as I try to walk off trail to skirt the puddles, mindful of the rivulet of water flowing down the trail looking for its way to its ocean home, mindful of the soreness in thigh and calf muscles due to elevation gain and after two previous days of hiking, mindful of the chill from uphill sweat on a downhill north facing slope under the red woods, mindful of the mushroom bloom that pushes up through the ground under pine trees, mindful of the silence broken by a beach-scraping prop plane, mindful of the two crows preening one another on a rock and the raptor that lands on the browned grass of the field, mindful of the sweeping view of the rocky and rugged coastline, mindful of a wave pounding on black volcanic rocks jetting up into the air like the high collar of a white cape, mindful of the iridescent blues of an iris and the clear blue sky, mindful of a sip of water and the bite of a crumbly snack mindful of the minute I sit and relax