Mama LaSal Mountains

I shed tears for my dear beloved, Mama LaSal Mountains as she's burning. A victim of an unattended campfire.
She's an oasis in the hot, dry desert summers. I've driven her meandering roads countless times. Rising in elevation you see beautiful juniper, sage, and pinion fade into thick oakbrush that give way to majestic quaking aspen and towering pines. 
This sweet Mama LaSal is sacred ground. 
She has held me gently through every stage of my life. As a very young child I played in her meadows, splashed in her waters, and rested beside the ditch where my Papa would spend afternoons fishing for rainbow trout. He taught me how to fish in her flowing creeks, how to be mindful of her care, how to enjoy her simple pleasures, and how to respect her magnificence. He too saw her sacredness.
Through the years I spent many weekends exploring her hills and valleys collecting firewood and the perfect switch for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows during picnics and camping trips. Back then she wasn't so dry, she was lush and green, with little danger of wildfire. Her dark forests were perfect for watching the stars. Her meadows for collecting wildflowers. Her cliff's edge for picking elderberries. Her grasses for observing birds and wildlife. 
Mama LaSal held me as I skipped through the trees looking for deer with Gran. Not realizing the true purpose of why we were there, I excitedly whispered that I spotted one. It was shot and cleaned as I watched with wide eyes. A rite of passage. A new understanding of life cycles and how Mama LaSal also provides food for families. 
Mama LaSal held me as I grew through my angsty teen years, giving me space to explore my independence. She showed me beautiful vast lands to hike with friends and boyfriends and held space for a first kiss. Then later, exploring those lands with my husband. There have been many day drives to observe the changing seasons, delighting in the vivid fall colors and the fresh spring wildflowers.
Mama LaSal held me and taught me how to trust her quiet, wise leadership. When I was hiking with my mom and sister the rain began to move in and we could not find our way back, I listened and she led me back to the path. When it was important to find a specific tree to gather around for a celebration of life, I paused to listen and she led me right to the spot. When I was hiking alone last summer and ended up lost, I listened through the fear and she led me home. 
Mama LaSal has held me as I watch my daughters grow and enjoy her wild space just as I have. 
Now with heavy heart in my chest and tears running down my cheeks, I hold her as she burns. 
My memories are intertwined with the roots of her trees and grasses. They're ingrained in her rocks. They float along her breezes. Her wisdom sparks in my neurons. Her peace, gentleness, and abundance flows through my veins. Her sacredness is infused in my cells. 
With time, she will rise through the ashes and grow vibrantly again.
I'm honored to have this writing included in a booklet called LaSal Mountain Elegies Pack Creek Fire, a collection of community members stories. As well as having the opportunity to read my writing at a community gathering at Back of Beyond Books.