place markers and magic

After you live in a place for while, you wind up driving around the territory by rote. Your subconscious remembers certain place markers so that otherwise generic stretches of country road remain familiar. You know that you are on the road home because you have passed a certain stand of birch or split rail farm fence or huge ancient maple tree centered in an acre of weeds.
There is a downhill stretch of country road I drive on the way back from town. I know where I am because the high craggy side of the mountain rises suddenly in my vision. It marks my place on the road home.
Several days ago, as I started down that hill, I suddenly felt lost. The road seemed unfamiliar. It took me a few seconds to realize that the mountain was not there. Instead, the gray sky edged my view from horizon to horizon.
I was aware of parts of my brain darting about trying to decide if this were some other downhill stretch and I had lost track of where I was driving.
No mountain. No crags. Not even hint of evergreen or speck of granite. Just miles of gray sky. The thought came to me that, in another time, I might think that dark forces had magically removed the mountain; that I would need to do some sort of ritual to bring it back.
As I drove closer to where the mountain should be and made the turn into the road that follows the mountain’s base, I still couldn’t see it. It was gone from sight. Like magic.
As I drove up the driveway, I turned to look again from another perspective. Nope. Nothing. Just impenetrable gray sky.
The next day the sun came out and the mountain was back.
See, my ritual worked.


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