Misty Mountain Hop

He took the wild flowers gathered from their hike earlier in the day and put them in a little vase centered on the picnic table near the fire pit. As night softly fell over them, he lit the fire, opened a cheap bottle of wine and poured two glasses for himself and his lover as the sun’s pale glow lingered over the mountain peaks.

A few glasses later and she playfully persuaded him to get his guitar and play a couple of tunes for her. He gladly obliged and retrieved the instrument, taking a seat on a large rock facing her. He strummed out the crisp sound of fresh strings from his acoustic guitar, the notes reaching into the valley, eventually dissipating into the blue air. He chose a selection of songs they both knew well; the soundtrack of their romance.

Not far away, a stranger walked leisurely down a gravel road that ran by their campsite. When he came upon the faint sound of music, he lingered for a moment to listen and advanced at a slower, discreet pace along the path, stopping as the sound grew loud enough for him to hear every note perfectly without disrupting the performance. Detached and relishing in the warm summer evening, he stood- the red glow of his cigar bouncing to the rhythm like some ghost conductor as pine trees cast occasional silhouettes, rounding out the audience. Through the brush, he could see her swaying to the rhythm in front of the fire like a dancing phoenix. What a painting that would be, he thought, hoping the fire would burn the scene into his memory and not fade away.

The quality of musicianship surprised him to the point that when the song finished, he nearly applauded, but decided it would be selfish to do so and maybe even awkward so he resisted. No, he thought, better not to disrupt the trance of the muse and the musician. Oh, how the stranger wished he had his guitar at that moment, but then he wished for a lot of things. He felt younger, and took in a few more songs unnoticed, living out the moment vicariously.