Emily? Many have ask and I too have wondered, and to this day, I still do not know the complete answer, but from the first moment, I felt the presents of her, even before my eyes would see her, I knew she was there, she was in the room, there was a feeling of strength and peace. An almost cosmic quality, a beauty of soul beyond any I had ever known. Perhaps, just maybe she had be molded from the mountains she loved, her strength from the giant pines, her softness from summer wind, and her courage from the river, even today I cannot say. As quickly as our time began, it would end, and theses eyes would never see her again. Leaving the mountain that fall day, I was leaving a part of my soul by my waterfall and in Emily’s memory… I let the earth the tress and her mountain have her, for that was what she loved and where she belonged, but I had a world of turmoil to return to and in my way I was hoping that the things I would do would help save the mountain for her.
It was at George Town University in Washington D.C. I was there as speaker and moderator at one of those long and often boring meetings of peaceful people, resisters to the tyranny of the United States Government and Nixon, the General Custer of his day. As Nixon poured death and destruction on helpless non-combatants, on hundreds of thousands of women and children. I was there to speak to and discuss with the 100 or so that had gathered in the auditorium with me to reflect, refuse and resist, resisting the madness that surrounded us. I had already been a part of so many of these meetings, so many long nights of planning, of fear, yes fear, for in those days we who resisted the insanity, also feared for our own lives, our phones were taped our families sometimes harassed and we were often followed. And death could come at the hands of a corrupt government. We had already been threaten more than once, and the lambs that followed that dictatorship and hated us for our resistance. In the years to come, we would be unfortunaly proven right. We would see our brothers and sister die at Kent State. Beaten at the 1968 Chicago convention, we would burn our draft cards, say no to murder, and put our lives on the line to say yes, YES! to the lives of our men and women of this land of American, and those we were suppose to hate in a far off land that some of us had never heard of before.
We were willing go to prison for many years and many did in an effort to not only magnify our truth but to sacrifice what we could for what we believed. To help those we had been taught were in danger from the slaughter of communist aggression, the enemy, the Gooks, as we called the Vietnamese. Therefore, in order to save them we slaughter them ourselves. Korean War veterans brought the term Gook to Vietnam. Those of us who did go to prison still would not bow, there would be salutary confinment, hunger strikes, prison strikes and we would serve our time, but not surrender our souls. In prison, you either get a number and lose yourself or you resist and lose what little benefits the system offered for falling in line. We did not fall in line.
Yes, it was just another one of those endless Peace Movement meetings. But, this one would prove to be very different, life changing in the whisper of a young woman. For that night, I would take from this city, from Gotham city, from Gomorra, also known as Washington DC. I would take the first step toward Emily and the Mountaintop days.
Why had I traveled so far to come to this place? Why had I come to This Mountain, her mountain? It was her mountain for she had hiked these hills and valleys, camped on the ledges and loved this place long before I had ever seen her face. At times, it seemed to me that she was as old as the mountain itself, as young as the fawn, and as pure as the stream, this woman of deep soul, grace, and beauty. In time, I would come to this place, come to escape the ugly world, to find the beauty, peace, loves and tranquility. Were those things to be found in the woman? Or was it in the mountain? Did they meld one into the other, like hot lava flowing to the edge of the ocean and creating land? Creating a solid place to stand. Time would tell. Emily had a physical beauty that would have frozen the Greek Gods in place. A soul so beautiful that Mary the mother of God would smile with pride. Small in size she stood somewhat five foot three, and delicate but so perfectly proportion that geometry could not explain. Yet this small body, with such a strong personality, soul and mind that only the strong of will and equal mind could even dream of challenging her. Her heart and mind so pure, no evil desire or thought, and yet her physical desires and spiritual heart no gouge could measured. I remembered as I left that mountain the first words she spoke in that meeting. Someone was asking why we should sacrifice so much for those we do not even know? Emily stood for the first time from way in the back of the room and gently spoke these words, “Wouldn’t you want them to do the same for us?” There was a hush in the room, and a pounding in my heart.
Long black hair, deep brown eyes, a perfect almost God given face, so tender and yet so strong she could pierce your thoughts and your body both at the same time. Making you want to lay her down and the same time place her so high and so safe that no one could touch or hurt her. Not on a pedestal for she would have rebelled against such a grotesque idea of being above anyone. Certainly not a thrown, for even the idea of that would have seemed to her sacrilegious. Emily walked the hills and mountains of this sacred land, giving to the earth, resisting those who tried to destroy it, and expecting nothing in return but the happiness she gained from following her heart and soul.
The man that walked down that sacred mountain was not the same one who had walked up that same rocky and dusty trail. As I walked down that trail for the last time, I knew I would never be the same man again, for I had grown, learned and loved. And it felt good knowing that. Further down I walked. With each step, I knew that I was leaving Emily behind forever, in a time and place that would always be remembered, and recalled as if it were now. However, I also knew that on the physical plane that this body must inhabit, I knew I would never see Emily again, and I smiled. I knew that two hearts and souls had touch in a way that would cross time space; distance and they would always be together. “Forever in our hearts.” I smiled again knowing that she would fulfill her life fulfill her own destiny. I smiled because of the mountaintop days and the long nights by the fire, the swims in the steam, the early morning fog, which I loved so much, and to this day, I can smell the fresh morning and the pine trees and hear the Cardinal call my name. And the pure hart that I had found and would always remember.
It was now late afternoon in the hills of West Virginia, in late October in the year of 1966. I had lingered to long on my journey down the mountain and into tomorrow. The sun seems to set even earlier in the heavens behind the pines and the foothills. I knew that hitching in the dark along a country road even in those days was neither safe, and I was not likely to find a ride, so with a mile to go to the paved road, and a safe two-hour hike back to the cabin, it was time to camp. My soul and heart would battle the night and my desires to return. I would not sleep, and I could almost hear the old bear scratching against the fence, just up the hill, and feel the touch of Emily. At least for one more night and one more morning I would listen to the cry of the night wolf, and the song of the morning carnal. I remember the very first time, long before the maintop days that I first saw the eyes of Emily, and heard her whisper “wouldn’t you want them to do the same for you?”