so named by the Indians
as the Mountain of the Devil.
He’s the king of a pack of lions,
maned head yawning in morning clouds, regal.
Asleep or awake,
his twin peaks are ears keenly alert,
traffic in the valley, planes in the air,
coyotes whimpering, earthworms digging dirt,…
He is a wise and revered patriarch
watching his clan with a quiet gaze,
On a dry autumn day
smoke arose on his shoulder’s golden hair,
flames moved across his chest.
People in the valley, young and old,
gardeners, CEOs, meter maids, pupils, chefs,
who worked and dwelled in the cities below,
telling each other: “Mt. Diablo is on fire, do you know?”
For the folks in the valley under the nose of Mt. Diablo,
it was like for Parisians to watch the Eiffel Tower burning,
or for Egyptians to see the Pyramid in flame.
But the fire took its time to quell, about an hour, just long enough
to agitate the little creatures at his paws, who felt and acted
like kids returning to an empty home
their mom’s whereabouts unknown.
Mt. Diablo, the Mountain of Devil,
a small hill compared to Kilimanjaro,
free standing, majestic, commanding, all encompassing – what makes him so?
He is the weight that holds down paper that otherwise scatters,
He is the reminder, the intervener, the expected, the constant, the inconvenient,
the taken-for-granted, the indispensible, the limit to the immeasurable, the quantifiable,
a great grandfather, a serious friend, the head of the household, a reliable vehicle…
He is part of the psychic, part of the breathing, part of the surrounding, part of this small world:
Walnut Creek, Danville, San Ramon, Lafayette, Concord, Clayton, Moraga, Orinda, Pittsburg, …
His twin peaks can be seen, hovering in the misty cloud, from Bald Mountain further north,
On a clear day atop of Mt. Diablo, Half Dome can be seen tilting hat from Yosemite in the south.
In days ordinary,
In moments glorious,
In celestial lights from heaven,
In Earthly clothes of green and golden,
Mt. Diablo, Always there, for whatever reasons, or no reasons,
To make us complete, our gait balanced, our mind steady, and temperament even.
(Poem by Joanne Tan, 4/17/2014, all rights reserved.)