Barking at Mountains

An ode to Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico and wanderers. 


At night here, dogs bark at the mountain, as if asking it why they are penned by fences at its’ feet.

The mountain does not answer or offer its Aztec secrets. It stands proud and haughty instead.

In the morning the dogs come to my feet, begging for papaya and frijoles.

They have forgotten their battle cry. I pull one into my lap.

“You don’t mind the fence now, do you?” I ask.

In answer he kisses my cheek with a velvet tongue.

His captivity, so it is, isn’t so bad after all.

Or maybe it’s just his home. Of course, there are similarities.

Wandering always makes me wonder why we ever return home at all.

I think I could spend my whole life with my red backpack and the brown boots I wear every day here, subsisting on food from a thousand markets in a hundred countries.

I could bark at every mountain and have no leash to hold me back from climbing them.

I could run my hands over warm bricks and feel cobblestones pushing against my shoes in old cities all over the globe.

Plenty of people do it. “Digital nomads.” It wouldn’t be hard to become one.

But like those dogs I like breakfasts on terraces and to know how the day will begin.

Even though sometimes I feel caged by home, without one I am afraid I would be unmoored.

I wouldn’t be known, or know others.

So eventually, I think, I will go back to mine.

But not yet.

There are mountains to climb.

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