Tamalpais by Stephen Galiani

The maiden is too much mountain for me; still I wish to confine her to my page, just as she is confined to earth.

She rests so still, serene,
Lullabied by a million flying things buzzing, chirping, flapping, honking, whispering, warbling, tapping, singing, clicking,
Bathed all winter by bountiful Pacific storms crashing down from Alaska, and by scant stealthy nighttime snowfalls,
Lovingly rinsed the summer through in the spa of gentle fog drip,
Blanketed with scrub, with sage brush, with manzanita, poison oak and monkey-flower, with blackberry, fern, and chaparral,
Attended by myriad crawling and climbing and tramping and scurrying and sneaking and walking and bounding creatures,
Guarded by alder and cypress, by coastal oak and California bay, by madrone, redwood and fir.

She gives us comfort when we spy her recumbent form from afar, from San Francisco or  the Port of Oakland, from the Berkeley hills or Point Richmond or even Vallejo,
We draw nearer and her peace settles upon us,
Yet sometimes she seems poised to rise.
I wonder if she really sleeps.
Her eyes are open, I think.
She gazes heavenward.

One day she will rise.
It will be a terrible day of darkness and echoing thunder, of bursting hillsides and crashing timber revealed in staccato flashes,
Flashes also revealing our awe,
As slowly she gathers herself up to a sitting position, absently brushes stands of Douglas firs from her thighs into Tomales Bay, then rises majestically to her feet,
Towering over the landscape, glancing about, then strides off, North, where we can never