Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter blessings

Today’s walk took me across the highway and along a rarely used and nearly obscured trail that winds behind the Mt. Baldy Zen Center, up to a flat area with few trees and much buckthorn. Without a tree canopy, it’s a great vantage point—on most days—to see down to the valley below (and on clear days, to see all of Catalina Island). Today, however, with the heavy marine layer, I could see only huge cloud chunks flying up San Antonio Canyon, heading straight toward me… which is why I chose this hike, as I love to watch the huge swaths of cloud billow up the slopes and through the trees.

I always take the iPod when I head up there, primarily because it’s a lonely hike; I’ve never seen anyone else on that trail. But also because I know that Leonard Cohen, at one time a resident of the Zen Center, occasionally returns for a visit, and I like to fantasize that one day I will arrive at the flat to find him standing quietly, looking down to the valley below, contemplative as always, perhaps composing some song lyrics in his head. I am determined not to intrude upon his reverie if this ever happens. However, should he deign to speak to me, I’ll have the iPod for a conversation starter. I imagine it will go something like this:

LC: What are you listening to on that damned thing?

Me: At the moment, Loreena McKennett… but to be honest, Mr. Cohen, I have far more of your stuff on here than hers. And I gotta tell ya, I think Rufus Wainwright did the best cover of “Hallelujah.” It’s brilliant.

OK, you’re right, sounds too much like starry-eyed chatter. If I ever see him, I shouldn’t even acknowledge that I recognize him, just nod, eat my snacks quietly, and head back down.

I practiced that today—eating my snacks quietly, I mean, while I scanned the upper slopes for deer. Well, except for a few brief moments while I sang along with Bob Dylan on “Love Minus Zero/No Limit.” Then I started back down, the clouds having nearly filled the canyon with fog. And there they were, two does leaping away, thirty feet below me. I watched their tails bob in retreat, and found myself softly singing “Hallelujah” as I walked back home through the misty forest.


  1. Great Easter for you! I love following your hikes vicariously. Personally, I was in church (three times, Mike is in training for the ministry) and then making dinner for lovely daughter and boyfriend, who it turned out couldn't eat it b/c it's Passover and he keeps stronger kosher then. Ah, well, it was still a very fine family experience!
    Laura H

  2. Durn if reading this didn't relax me a good bit,,,lol. I am not usually jealous, but this comes close to making me,,just a little,, lol. glad to see you had a good hike.