June 10, 2007
All week in the mountains, I was conscious of snow melting, water rushing down the rocky slopes. We hiked to the sound of a water crashing down over rock and small streams trickling down across trails. Parts of the town were flooded, with the muddy water of the river sweeping underneath trees and benches.
In one town we stopped in, the lone grocery store was closing. The young woman putting a sign up on the front door explained that the power was out because of the flood. She asked us what we needed and then let us into the store so that we could peer into the dark coolers and choose from the bottles of juice. The staff, mostly high school aged, were standing around the check-out counter talking happily about the power outage and whether or not they would be cleaning out the freezer in the morning.
I have to say that everyone we met on this trip was almost ridiculously friendly. It happened over and over again. Someone would give me a big smile and a warm hello, and I'd think, "Do I know this person? A former student? Someone I went to school with?" But then I'd hear the accent and realize that I didn't know the person at all. It seems like it is somehow just a custom in this part of the world to greet everyone like an old friend.
Perhaps it's the mountains that makes everyone so friendly. I can imagine you'd feel safe and secure if you lived with those mountains. They were present all the time, even when the mists rolled in. Even when I looked into the waters of the lake, I'd see those rocky peaks reflected there.
Posted by jo(e)