One spring weekend, lifetimes ago, my best friend, Samm and I escaped our New England prep school and hitchhiked up to her parents’ vacation home in Jeffersonville, Vermont. Nothing that she and I did together was ordinary and this adventure could so easily have ended in tragedy. We were picked up by a man who claimed to be an auctioneer and immediately charmed us with wild stories in syncopated language, when we suddenly realized that we were being driven the opposite way from where we were headed. When we questioned him he totally ignored us and we chose to jump out of the speeding car. We were ‘rescued’ by a caring, fatherly man and driven to within a mile of our destination, being lectured passionately the whole way about the evils of hitch-hiking. We heard him. The moment he was out of sight we stood looking at a pasture full of cows, in grateful wonder, and at the same split second we each noticed that one of the cows had a hoof poking out from her rear. Amidst chaotic scrambling and language we found the farmer whose cow it was and we three delivered the baby calf in the barn...together.
That evening, lounging by candlelight to the music of Judy Collins and a dinner of spam and peanut brittle, Samm climbed up on a chair and unhooked a prism from an elegant chandelier that was hanging over the dining room table. She held it up to my face, slowly twilrling it around and she said “You know what this is, Plum?” “Yes” I said, “It’s a prism”, and she laughed with a guffaw that only she could rally at such a time,. and she said ‘NO IT ISN’T!”
Silence as I re-grouped from her spell breaking outburst and she continued to stare at and twiddle the glass object in the candlelight.
“It’s a many things”.
“A many things?”
“Yes. Hold it up to your eyes and look all around you and you will see that everything changes with the slightest turn. Each of its sides is different so the light reflects the images differently and nothing looks the same, ever.”
Oh Samm, you brilliant shining star, I miss you. You were too much for this world!
Right now we live on a mountain top with Olive and Ben, two canines, though Olive truly rules the roost. Every evening I drive and sit for an eternity in traffic and then, with one simple turn off of Figueora, I’m at the base of the mountain. My windows roll down and I take a deep breath. I can’t help but think that I’m ascending into heaven as I wind and climb and wind and climb up it’s steep and narrow road, into the light and quiet of this land above the din. A whole world up here that many locals don’t even know exists. Coyotes roam, skunks run amuck, winds howl, fennel grows wild. And so it is, my ascension of the Mount of Olive, and as I look out I can hear Samm’s laugh and I see many things.