A Dream of the Mountain
The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens. - Rumi
As a child we lived in the foothills of South Mountain, in the apple country of Adam's County, Pennsylvania. My first family home as a child was in Biglerville, directly across from the wild and swift Conewago Creek. This had been an ancestral home, belonging to my father's father's father, Ernest Miller. Ernest's great grandfather, also named Ernest but whose surname was spelled Mueller, had been born in Baden-Wurtemburg, in what would later become Germany, in 1807. He emigrated to the United States more than a hundred years later than many of my ancestors, and like most of my ancestors, was fleeing persecution in the wake of the Protestant Reformation.
Almost all of my ancestors for the past two hundred years have lived on South Mountain or in the foothills around South Mountain. The South Mountain region is nearly half a million acres, and is the northern most terminus of the Blue Ridge Mountain range, part of the Appalachian Mountain Range, that extends into Georgia, USA. The Appalachian Mountain range is one of the oldest mountain ranges on Earth. They began to form around 480 million years ago, and their formation coincided with the formation of Pangea. The Blue Ridge portion of the Appalachian range began forming more than a billion years ago.
The valleys around South Mountain, filled with the minerals of millions of years of eroded slopes, have created some of the most fertile soil in the world. The creeks, streams, runs and springs that flow off South Mountain and her foothills drain into the Susquehanna River, one of the oldest rivers in the world. The Susquehanna River is 444 miles from source to mouth, originating in Ostego Lake in New York State (home of the herkimer diamond) and emptying into the Chesapeake Bay. This Mother River, like the Rhine in my ancestral homelands of Germany and Switzerland, or the Foyle in Northern Ireland, is the lifeblood of the bioregion. The movement of the waters from the hills to the river is what keeps all things green and growing and living.
You may have heard that the Appalachian Mountain range actually extends across the Atlantic Ocean and into the Highlands of Scotland and the Little Atlas Mountains of Morrocco in North West Africa. These were all once part of the Central Pangea Mountain Range. This one mountain range has provided the landscape and minerals for vastly different species, and yet in a way they still belong to each other.
I have been contemplating the co-evolution of humans with the movements of the land and waters themselves. When these mountain ranges were still the Central Pangea Mountain Range, did they dream of what could be possible if they become a trinity of different expressions in different climates with different species? Did the souls of our ancestors whisper to them across time, asking for their partnership to create the conditions for our incarnation? Did my ancestors breathe their dream of my life into the Rhine, the Foyle, the Susquehanna? Did the iron and calcium in the mountains stir within themselves a dream of human bones and teeth? Did our lives draw the minerals forth through plants and lizards and birds and mammals, following an ancient prophetic dream of humanity?
I can't know the answers to these questions, but I do believe that time is not what we think, and the converging stories of these landscapes are not simple and linear, but multidimensional and emergent. I sense that the dream of the human story is, at least in part, so that we can ask these questions. Our niche is to bring these converging mysteries into consciousness. We are able to project our consciousness into the experiences of other beings, to imagine creative possibilities, and to shape the world in response to the stories we imagine.
Many days I can feel the deep rumble of South Mountain in my bones, the longing of the water of my body to join the Mother Susquehanna for a homecoming to the sea, the air in my lungs whispering memories of passing through the doe and her fawn on its passage from the southwest to my inhale. Has this imagining awakened in me because of my own Spirit and how I have been knitted together in the Womb of Creativity? Has this imagining awakened in me from a dream of the mountains themselves? A dream to know themselves more deeply through my thinking mind?
I may never know the answers, but I can know these hills. I can know the flow of the water and the community of beings all around me, and I can find a deeper and deeper sense of belonging here. And I can dream. What is the future calling for? What dreams do these hills have for the next thousand years? What role will humans play in that dreaming, and what is my part? What is the thread that my family holds through our lives in these hills?
The majority of my family have been farmers, blacksmiths, day laborers, butchers and preachers. We have worked with our hands, shaping the gifts of this land into something useful and nourishing for the people. Shaping the Mystery into something nurturing and useful for the Spirit. They have given their skills and their life force to tending the land and the people, and I intend to continue their legacy, while dreaming of the future.