I am going to see the mountain. My hands are calm on the wheel of the old car, my hair tied back in the wind from the open window, my face towards where I want to go. The mountain is warm on my cheek so I know when to turn.
The roads are mostly empty, stretching through the brown and rust of the scrubby, flat terrain. The hills are odd shapes, flat-topped, marked with ripples of rock. The sky fits precisely over them, beaten blue. I pass small towns, a few weathered houses, loose boards flapping in the wind with a sound like drums. If I see people, they turn away. I am going to the mountain. They know.
There’s no mistaking it. Against the afternoon sky the mountain looms, curved and placid, its back bent like a bow. Its feet are rooted tree-like in the harsh ground.
I stop the car. Beneath my feet I feel it, the slow, subterranean beat. I bend over and place my hands on the stony soil, where the pulse comes up through them with the rhythm of blood.
I wait. The sun sets. Slowly, in its own good time, the mountain uncurls its giant, sleep-pursed fists. Rocks slither, and a flight of crows startles, cawing, towards the distant trees. A palm levers against the ground. Massively slow, the back unbends and straightens against the stars, titanic blind head lifting to scent the air. The mountain stands up.
I wait. Now, we shall see.