This is an entry in a journaling game I’m currently playing. An explanation, and my first entry, is here. I swear, I sort out a series link for these soon.
… and, unlike the previous times, surface gently, like waking, into this new time and place. Birds sing nearby. The city lights are flickering off as the sun comes up, slowly.
Wonmi Mountain. So many hikes unwind through my mind: early morning, late afternoon, dark-of night. Yeokgok was a wreck of a place, but Wonmi-san? It’s good to be here again.
I look off the path, wondering why I’m here, in this spot, when I see it, just barely peeking out from among the leaves. There a strand of bright blue ribbon. I walk over, into the underbrush, and pick up the end of the ribbon, following it to its end. It’s buried in the ground, so I dig it up.
There’s a small wooden box, and when I open it I’m surprised to find no dirt has crept it. It can’t have been here long. Inside, there’s a clean brown glass flip-top bottle, the kind I used to own dozens of when I was still brewing, still full of some light-colored liquid. And a plastic cup. And a note, that reads:
잘왔어? 원미산에 와서 고맙다. Pour one out for the 산신.
It’s my handwriting, the Hangeul blocky and clear and the English messy and terrible. Except… I don’t remember ever writing this. Still, it’s from me, so I open the bottle, take a sniff. It’s mead. With a smile, I pour some into the cup, take a sip. It’s good. Chestnut honey, maybe?
Why haven’t I come back here, since we moved away? This mountain’s been here all along. Why… but then, with a start, I feel the slow beginnings of that strange tug inside me, realize I’m about to be yanked from this place and time again, and remember: I need to pour one out for the san-shin. So I do, laughing: this, too, is so much like that night, so long ago, though it was a double chocolate stout back then.
I hang onto the bottle of mead—who knows, maybe I can bring it with me?—as I close my eyes and take a deep breath, the smell of pine and night and someone burning leaves somewhere. Then I’m yanked away, and tumble off again through time…
(No bottle. Huh.)