Friday, January 27, 2012

A hike up Mt. Burdell

Since this blog is entitled “Jordanville Journal,” and not “San Francisco Vacationer,” it behooves me to end my series on San Francisco with this post.

The second week of vacation went by quickly. For three days of it I was in church for Theophany services. I was also concerned with the tying up of loose ends—writing postcards and the like. But on Monday—a federal holiday—I got a day off.

On Monday morning four of us Conquering Time creative types, including Pafnuty and I, drove up to Mount Burdell in Marin County. There, we met up with I. and her monk friend. The six of us then started up the slope. Despite its name, Mt. Burdell is actually a 1500-foot hill. It’s a short climb. Our plan was to go to the top, rest for an hour and do some writing, and go back down. We went up a gently-rising path, and came to a fork. One path went straight up the mount, and another wound gradually around it to the summit.

“That path looks dangerous and steep,” said one of us hikers. “Let’s take it.”

Tougher than it looks.

We proceeded slowly, but it didn’t take too long to reach the top. The key thing was making sure our center of gravity was towards the hill, lest we end up taking a tumble like Wesley and Buttercup in “The Princess Bride.”

“All those prostrations must have kept me in shape,” I said to a fellow hiker.

“If I bend over any more, I’m going to be making a prostration,” he said.

We finally reached the top. Since we had an ambling pace, it took us an hour and a half to get there. Some searching about revealed a path to a shady, somewhat rocky area, surrounded by trees. There were traces of human presence: ashes from a fire, scratchings on rocks, a carved face. We each took a rock and sat down for an hour, letting the creative impulses do their work.

Certainly inspiring something.

We started writing. Some wrote poetry, others songs. I, whose creativity was probably stunted by television, wrote silly haiku*:

Sitting down at last.
Oh, she said, my dog’s got ticks.
I stand up quickly.

Haiku need to have
Oblique references to nature
Like rocks, birds, and stuff

Silent and serious
We all have to write something
Do bad haiku count?

I also wrote down some character ideas for a continuation of Sense and Seminarians, which have absolutely no reflection on real people. At least, that’s what my lawyer will probably say.

After the hour or so was complete, we packed up and went down the windier path, which was no less difficult than the steep path due to all the loose rocks on the ground. I nearly fell two or three times. “It won’t just be your cassock that ends up purple,” I. said to me.

At the end of our hike, before parting ways, we sat down and had a nice little picnic, which included gourmet cheese left over from the Old New Year’s party. I don’t consider myself the outdoorsy type, but I’m very happy to have been able to spend the day hiking with friends. It was strenuous and invigorating!

UPDATE: An ardent Reader told me that I needed to wrap up my trip to San Francisco in a tidy concluding sentence, like this: “… and then I flew back to Jordanville. My arms are barely strong enough now to type this blog post.”

*Or, to be more exact, senryu, since though they have the 5-7-5 syllabic form, there’s no reference to nature, and they have a somewhat ironic tone.

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