(This story has no importance. . .it is just a diversion, a break from emotional overlaod that many of us are experiencing right now. . .it is just the story of an adventure. It is a true story, but still just a story.)

At the age of 3, I had a very strong, if not unshakeable, sense of my perception of God.   Some sweet woman who taught a Sunday School class in the local Christian Scientist Church told us wild and untamed 3 and 4 year olds that “God is Love.”  I grabbed a hold of that as a foundational truth, and in many ways I decided then and there that was probably all I would ever need to know about “God.”  

After a lifetime of searching for the answers I see that I already knew them at 3.  My personal perception of a deity and the workings of the Universe have certainly changed and expanded, but that the energy I see as the organizing, creative power of the Universe, “IS LOVE” has only become more certain.  

It became apparent, the fledgling church and I were coming from two very different understandings of things of spirit.  To contain as much as possible the divisivness of this situation, I took my leave of the church and jumped headlong into my dream of the mountain.

No spouse.  No Church ( read that as loss of spiritual direction).  A big aching place in my heart.  There was only the dream in the Mountain that I could see.

The 4 or 5 weeks prior to my arrival in the mountains I had wallowed in my misery, of course.  But as the day arrived and we drove the exactly seven miles East of Henryville and turned off the highway going South into the mountainous forest of Ponderosa Pines and sagebrush, my heart was singing.  I knew this was right even though I had no idea what two gay guys, a lesbian and a somewhat pregnant German Shepherd-Husky mix dog were going to do here.  We did what any sane persons would do.  We unloaded the gear and set up the camp.


We awoke early in the morning to build a campfire, make coffee, eggs, bacon and pancakes then sent Ron and Terry on their way back to Salt lake City with big hugs of gratitude for their help.  Shirley in The Mountain was born that day.  

Something of interest is that I had never been camping in my life.  My family never went camping.  The closest I had ever come was sleeping in the backyard on summer nights in sleeping bags with a bunch of neighborhood kids. What I found curious was that I knew how to build a proper fire for cooking, I understood how different types of wood burned and what type of coals they would give us.  I knew the difference between a fire for cooking and a fire to sit around and enjoy.  There were different types of fires for different types of foods being cooked.  I seemed to understand a lot about being in the mountains and the forest.  There were a surprising number of things I just knew.   However, it was not too surprising  there was still plenty for me to learn.


At 8,500 ft of elevation the sky is so clear and the stars so close you feel as if you can reach out and grab them.  If ever there was a place to feel at one with the earth and all of the universe, this was it.  Add to that the crisp night air, a crackling fire of cedar, and the aroma of coffee brewing on the fire. . .pretty much all the riches anyone could ever want.  To this day I can close my eyes, and smell that cedar burning in the fire, taste the coffee steaming in my mug while I gaze at stars too beautiful to describe.

Day two was exploration day.  With a compass and a 100′ length of rope we set off to find the quarter section marker to measure off some portion of my actual 40 acres amongst the 640 acre section.  Day three was a move across the deep ravine to a more private and better situated camp site.  We had not yet found the USGS quarter section marker and with all that available mountain it did not exactly seem like anything that would just jump up and holler at us.  

We packed up our things and began ten, twenty, who knew how many trips down to the bottom of the 30 ft deep ravine and up the other side.  As I came packing a load of things up the far side of the ravine, at the top of the make shift angled trail we had created by our fetching and carrying, stood Peter, his full head of silver gray hair afro (this is 1974, remember?) glinting in the sunlight. . .he was laughing. . .”You must be one crazy woman!  Who else would come up to the mountains with a 57 year old faggot, a queer cripple and a pregnant dog?”  Don was still recuperating from a motorcycle mishap that had left him with a gimpy leg.  I laughed. . .who indeed. . . But Shirley in the Mountain.

The new campsite came together rather quickly, and we spent a part of everyday looking for USGS markers, and getting familiar with the terrain.  Days of glorious sunshine were wandered through in tank tops and cutoffs.  The dog, Nikki, and I spent lots of time exploring and introducing ourselves to squirrels, chipmunks and assorted critters seen and unseen.  But the end of the days were magically special.  

After cooking and eating our evening meal, the cedar fire was stoked up high as the cool night air crept in and long pants and flannel shirts were welcomed coverings.  A pot of coffee sat off to one side of the fire and the 3 of us gathered around to stargaze and talk of the wonders of the universe over our steaming cups of coffee.

Peter, in his late 50’s, was the 70’s embodiment of what I imagined the apostiles of Jeshua would look like.  He was slight of build and about 5’8″ in height, with his magnificent locks of silver streaked very curly hair.  Of course he had the “stylish” long side burns, a full mustache and the clearest, bluest eyes I can ever remember seeing.  To me, he looked absolutely angelic in his multicolored tank top, bell bottom hip hugger jeans and “jesus sandals”.

Don was about 6’2″ and a larger build.  He had a look about him of a craftsman, a man who worked with his hands.  I could easily imagine him as a new testament times boat builder or fisherman.  His brown eyes held a spiritual fire and a promise of knowledge to be shared.  He had a more serious countenance and could speak well on many subjects.  He gave me a feeling of solidness. . .yet something mystical in his smile.

We had a portable battery powered radio that we turned on at night.  There at the top of the world we could receive stations from all over the U S.  We sang with the music, and talked to the stars.  It was very magical, those nights around the campfire.

Continued in Part 3

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