the way the mountain laughs

The Way the Mountain Laughs

When I walk on the mountain I frequently pick up small seeds, stones, leaves, empty snail shells, and such that I find along the path. When I find a suitable place, I arrange whatever is in my pockets as a little offering, a “thank you” to the mountain for the walk, for the gifts of the forest, and the spirit of the land that nourishes and sustains me.

I have favorite places — mossy stumps, stone-filled pools in the creek, a fallen tree high on the ridge — that have become regular offering spots, and I keep my eyes open for things to bring and leave there each time I make the rounds. I love the ritual of making an offering of gratitude.

Last week I happened by one of these wonderful scarlet elf cups that I love so much. They are barely the size of a pencil eraser, but because of their color they always capture my attention. After taking a moment to drop a little snail shell into the elf cup, and arrange my bit of lichen and the single perfect acorn I’d collected, I thought (because of the snail shell tucked into the elf cup) the theme of my offering, if there was one, was “shelter.” Later I explored that theme in a poem inspired by a Cherokee legend, but the photo I had snapped stayed on my laptop; it didn’t seem to be the right moment to share it yet.

Today I looked at it again, and was struck by the way the offering now seemed to be all about joy and silliness. Remember when we used to chew with our mouths open and found ourselves uproariously funny? The usnea (lichen) looks so tickle-giggly, and the acorn puts me in mind of the perfectly rotten plums (filched from the neighbor’s tree), that we pitched at each other as children. They had a little bit of weight and stink and were likely to stain our clothes, therefore they were the most-prized of flying missiles.


Perhaps this offering is in gratitude for the way a mountain laughs. And how much fun it can be to share a bout of tickling, ridiculous laughter, and maybe a soft, stinky missile or two, with a good friend.

2 comments on “The Way the Mountain Laughs

  1. panamc05

    Your offering made me smile today. Thank you

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe

      I’m glad! Everyone could use an unexpected extra smile in their day. Sending love.

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