The dust of crumbled mountains sticks to my legs. Above me, the sun burns hot and the moon sets over the Pacific beyond the ridgeline and canyons beyond that.
I think of Wang Wei. Dreams of a small cabin away from people breeze through my mind. A quick, rocky shoot down is followed by a quick, rocky, steep up; I grunt and smile.
Escaping with the Hermit Zhang Yin
My brother Zhang has five carts of books.
A hermit, he reads endlessly.
Whenever he soaks his brush with ink he surpasses
the sage of grass calligraphy.
When he writes a poem it makes a classical verse
seem like a throwaway.
Behind closed doors under Two Chamber Mountains,
he’s been a hermit for more than ten years.
He looks like a wild man
pausing with fishermen.
Autumn wind brings desolation.
Five Willows seems taller as their leaves drop.
Seeing all this I hope to leave the peopled world.
Across the water in my small cottage
at year’s end I take your hand.
You and I, we are the only ones alive.
–Wang Wei, translation by Tony Barnstone, Willis Barnstone, and Xu Haixin
I think of the Willows out in the Borrego, and find joy in knowing that I will be back out there in the coming months.