Adventures in Imperfection · Life is a Highway

When the Moon and the Mountains Call

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Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, inciting at once to work and rest! Days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God. Nevermore, however weary, should one faint by the way who gains the blessings of one mountain day; whatever his fate, long life, short life, stormy or calm, he is rich forever.

~John Muir

I just finished scaling the side of a mountain. In my opinion, it’s the very best way in the whole wide world to catch a Rocky Mountain high without reaching for the wacky weed. (Not that I can make a personal comparison!)

On Monday, the drive between the Denver airport and Boulder had me aching to be outside. The humidity-free air at 5,430 feet above sea level coupled with pine trees and crisp fall air makes a person less apt to complain about anything, so I rolled down the windows and prepped my attitude for three days of “sit still” meetings.

Since then, I’ve been confined to a closed room with 13 other wonderful, but extroverted co-workers. That’s a lot of human interaction in a really small space and my crawly insides needed a time out. So, after our kind  leader let us out at 3:00, I typed “mountain trails” into google maps and it led me to the Mount Sanitas trailhead less than five miles from my hotel in downtown Boulder. It was just what the doctor ordered to treat the symptoms of “needs time alone.”

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The writer/photographer in me cherishes any time that I get to spend on the side of a craggy cliff. The directionally challenged part of me spends most of my time trying to find the way back. Today, more than usual, I got caught up in the mountain magic and its spell had me all turned and twisted around. After 40 minutes of being lost, I zigged when I should have zagged and ended up here.

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No matter. There were many other people on the trailhead and even with a shredded knee, I knew I could outrun at least one other person in case a bear showed up. Once I had my bearings again, I pulled out the iPhone and photojournaled the rest of the adventure.

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Though it might seem like an oxymoron, climbing this mountain grounded me and I realized that I’ve been selfish, grumpy and not very pleasant to be around. My friends have been kinder to me than I have been to them. I’ve neglected my blogger buddies and have lost touch with my beloved brothers and sisters. “Busy” seems like a horrible excuse, but it’s the two-syllable word that I offer automatically when questioned.

This trip to the mountains reminded me that I’m a little itty bitty dot in a big old world. I’m so grateful to the folks who let me be a part of their lives even on the days I don’t warrant their love and attention.

And, I found several”knocked up side the head” reminders of the people I love all through the trails, creeks and stones.

A dog named Sadie ran with me for a while and reminded me of Christy and her pooch (also named Sadie) as they prepare for their next adventure. An abandoned hat on the trail  made me think of Dane who has been begging for a bucket hat for several weeks now.

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Claimed! (the apple was delicious!!)

He has been asking me to stop and shop with him and I’ve postponed it each time he inquired.  I treasure these shopping trips because I get my testosterone-laden teenage son all to myself.  It’s during those times that he lets me dote on him, buy him ice cream and there’s even a slight chance that he’ll dish on the cute girls he likes. I’m sorry Dane-O….sorry that I have to be hundreds of miles away to realize that it’s not just a hat you’ve been asking for.

Then, I saw horses in the distance and thought of my girl and the text message she sent me yesterday.

Ever have one of those days where you just want to drop everything and travel to a beach? I’m definitely having once of those days.”

Yes, honey. I have those days a lot.

Many times for no good reason. I have a restless, ancient soul and it seems that I’ve passed this trait along to my own daughter. A girl who I once thought was opposite of me has suddenly become my hummingbird sidekick and soul mate. I want to send her to every corner of the world just so she can see it. And then, in the same breath, make sure she’s tucked in by midnight.

I understand her better now than I ever have in my whole life and my heart wells when I think about the little girl who is growing up before my eyes. Unsettled is “normal” and “okay” in a twenty-year old…maybe not so in her mama.

The fidgeting comes from weighing needs versus wants and knowing that life is ever-changing. I want to empty my bucket of lists and fill up a new one. I need my kiddos to know that they are the most important people in my life. I want my husband to know I’m proud of him.

I want to matter to the people who matter to me.

And now I’m full of a much-needed, happy calm. My dear friend and co-worker asked me to meet her outside the hotel at 4 a.m. to watch the lunar eclipse in the Colorado sky. It was a striking blood-red moon and so fantastic to watch it with three other awesome, strong and compassionate women–even though we got in trouble for being too loud! 

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If I lived here, I would open my windows every day and thank God for the snow-tipped peaks as well as the nomadic feeling that the cliffs and crags and boulders stir up inside me. This morning, I’m grateful for the sore muscles, creaky knees and shallow breath yesterday’s adventure gave me. I’m also happy to be heading back home all while knowing that I’ll be back again. Soon.

The mountains call to me a lot these days.

65 thoughts on “When the Moon and the Mountains Call

  1. Selfishly, it makes me happy to know there are “grown-up” restless souls out there!!

    MamaMick… such lovely words filled with wisdom…

    “hurry = hurt” which is my life in a nutshell… when I rush myself… my kids… my life… a lot gets done but a lot is missed… the beauty is missed… God’s pursuit of me is missed… and I leave a wake of pain behind me and end up tried… empty… restless… and full of guilt!

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    1. Hey mama!
      Loved your perspective on “hurry=hurt”…you are SO right. Even when I recognize the invasion of the hamster wheel, I don’t always have the foresight to jump off of it.
      And, if you makes you feel any better, the more I look the more restless souls I see…in every walk of life.
      Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to stop by and comment. It means the world to me!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am with you on the introvert locked in a room of extroverts feeling. I am so glad you were able to experience the outdoors and tie it to home and your loved ones. 🙂 Very beautifully done!

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  3. Oh wow. This story, these pictures, the joke about introverts changing a light bulb (so true!). Good medicine, M. Also, glad you didn’t have to outrun some poor bear kabob on the trail!

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    1. LOL! A bear kabob!!! The visual is priceless.
      Thank you, Kristen, for taking the time to read. You were one of the “blogger buddies” on my mind yesterday…always good and happy thoughts where you are concerned. xo

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  4. What a lovely post, Mama Mick! Very nice, indeed. I was thrilled to see you choose “Landslide” as the soundtrack for this post… it is possibly my favourite song ever. Particularly poignant at my age and with grown children. I am no introvert… but I understand restless, my dear. I do indeed. 🙂 Thank you for the minutes of contemplation, your beautiful pics and of course, for the music. Mother Hen

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    1. Awww…thank you, MH!
      I’m so happy that you liked my song choice. I heard it a couple of weeks ago, wrote it down and pinned it to my bulletin board knowing that it would apply at some point. It definitely speaks to us who have grown kiddos, no?
      BTW: I read your latest post while trekking from the shuttle bus to the airport terminal. Thank you for hearing the “pebbles” I dropped today…i’ll be over to splash at your site as well. I loved everything you wrote. So glad our paths have crossed. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “The fidgeting comes from weighing needs versus wants and knowing that life is ever-changing. I want to empty my bucket of lists and fill up a new one.” You’ve put my life into words! Words have failed me lately and that’s just fine but I’m glad I’m not alone. I can almost smell the pine from your pictures! Lots of love to you!

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    1. “You’ve put my life into words!”
      You have no idea how much that simple sentence means to me, Karen. Though I wasn’t hesitant to write this, I was hesitant to publish because it felt too much about me…I wasn’t even sure that it would resonate. How comforting to know that I’m not alone and that people I love and adore are wrestling with the same things in other corners of life. Thank you so much taking the time and for your always kind words. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Michelle, thanks for taking us on this trip. I needed to be reminded that “I’m a little itty bitty dot in a big old world.” Standing next to a mountain will do that to person. Reading your story somehow managed reduced the grumbling in my heart.

    And as I get ready to enter my favorite time of year, I will remember to stay in a place of thanksgiving!

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    1. Hi Anka,
      Your sweet words just made my day. Any time I can help calm grumbling in the heart (rather than cause it!) is a very good day in my book. The little bit I know about you speaks to the fact that you are an innately grateful person…I’m sure you’ve calmed a heavy heart or two in your own world. 😉

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  7. something going around, yes?
    that place of quiet introversion, of neglecting writing…i don’t know what it is . Over here i am going with it because i’m not sure what else to do. but then a voice calls out from the wilderness with a post as beautiful and thoughtful as this.
    the mountains are beautiful, yet your daughter spoke to me, and i think i need to get in the car and get to the ocean, pronto!
    Thanks for speaking up…. “I want to matter to the people who matter to me”. How lucky we are that we do, with so little effort (seemingly) on our parts.
    and landslide…..
    perfect.
    xoxoo

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    1. Dear Michele,
      I’m sighing with relief over here. As I told Karen, this post seemed too “me” and didn’t even know if it should be posted. Then, I read your words and immediately felt reassured that all was good. It touched me beyond belief to know that my daughter spoke to you in her own way. What I would love to hear the most is if you tell me later that you hopped in your car and drove to the ocean for a day on the beach!!
      I think of you often and send happy, warm vibes your direction. And, no hurry. We have no writing timelines other than what we impose on ourselves. When you are good and ready to let us see what you’ve been writing, I’ll be here patiently waiting.

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  8. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind: not only do you matter to the people who matter to you, but that you are the keystone in all of their lives.

    You matter to me, that’s for sure!

    And now that you’ve allowed me to procrastinate not once but twice (by directing me to the elusive Christy), I need to head over to my own blog for a much delayed writing session.

    I want want want to go to Colorado after reading this, but I need need need to write, then give my dog a bath. I will fidget about this later!!

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    1. And you definitely matter to me!
      I always have a smile on my face when I read your comments and posts…I imagine that what you write sounds like the way you talk and it feels like we are sitting across the table from each other. It makes me happy.
      I hope your sweet pooch enjoyed the bath and yes, pinning down the elusive Christy is a fun adventure all its own!!

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  9. Bears?! Oh my. That’s almost as bad as seeing the “Beware of Snakes” sign at the rest area.

    Stunning photographs, stunning.

    It’s okay to take time for yourself. It’s okay to be reflective! Why does everyone think that’s a bad thing? Your true friends will always understand. (Just like the quote on Words today.)

    xoxo

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    1. LOL! My co-workers asked me how many rattle snakes I came across and I said, “Crap! I forgot that there could be rattlesnakes!” There were mountain lion prints on the trail, but there is probably enough foot traffic to keep them hidden in the trees.
      I agree with your assessment on taking time for reflection. I especially like doing it when I’m away from home.
      I will certainly pop over to Words today and will look through my photos to see if I caught one of Mountain Sadie 😉
      Love you, girlie!

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  10. Sounds like your just trying to find your heart Michelle. You can see it in all your family and friends…but where is yours…truly 🙂 The lunar eclipse really stirred us up to release what no longer is required within our lives…and new adventures are waiting. Not necessarily physical adventures, but stepping into new emotional places as well. What is on your horizon? 🙂 Namaste

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    1. Hi Mark!
      Any chance “fortune teller” resides in the spaces on your resume!?! I love the notion of releasing what’s no required in our lives…it leaves much for space for the things that belong there. As always, I love it when you stop by and comment.

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      1. Funny you should say that 🙂 You got Prosperity, Love and Manifestation. What do you love to do, where is your heart. Is there something you wish to try? Manifest from the heart.
        Aside from that, you sound like this part of your journey has completed in some way. That inner glow has come down a bit and it is your heart yearning for something else that completes you.
        In reality, it is in finding the truth of that love for ourselves that completes us, but part of that is in doing things with love for ourselves. And I don’t mean selfishly ie. Pack up and run around the world and tell everyone you’ll be back someday 🙂 Mind you, that could have its benefits 🙂
        If you feel restless or a bit agitated, ask yourself, what do I really want. What would give you joy in the doing? Is there even a hobby or part time thing that you love to do, or even stepping out to help others. A local non profit organization that helps within the community. And it doesn’t have to take over your life. Test it, feel it, and you will know if it suits how you feel.
        I’m thinking I should set up a website and do readings but I have a big project on the go that is already putting my ‘book’ on the back burner for a while. I needed to stop and digest a lot that has been happening in my life before I could move forward again. Maybe just as you may need to do. When was the last time you gave yourself some time to really digest where your heart is?

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      2. You are so insightful, Mark. I’ve known it from the beginning. The curious girl in me is begging to know what your big project is, but patient one knows you’ll tell us all in good time. Thank you so much for taking the time to read, comment and reply. I take your words to heart because they hit very close to home in almost every way. While I do spend quite a bit of time volunteering, I just don’t think I’ve found the right one yet. Still searching and even I know “not all who wander are lost.”
        Sending you good vibes and blessings on your own journey.

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      3. Your never lost Michelle. Just adjusting the body to fit the changes you make from the spirit within. Sometimes when we ‘let go’ of what we are searching for, life tends to get us to bump into our new cycle. It is a project with a friend (creating a website). Lots of coding everywhere (for me) and my friend gets to pretty it all up. I haven’t got the design flair for that side of it. Apparently I heal Ok though 🙂 I think I know why plumbers don’t make good electricians and vice versa 🙂
        Let it go…have a barbecue this weekend, sit out in the sunshine, watch the world go by and rest your heart. A refreshed mind can ‘see’ much better. Haveagoodweekend 🙂 Mark

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I am beyond envious that you got to see that amazing moon. Your photos are beyond lovely. Thanks so much for bringing us along to see such amazing sights. It’s so important to get grounded, and what a fantastic way to do it.

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    1. Awww….thank you!
      I tried to get a picture of the moon, too. But, the iPhone couldn’t get close enough and didn’t begin to capture the read.
      I hope that you are having a great week and that your crystal dragon is having a good one, too. xo

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  12. Awesome Mama. Personally, I think we often do too much for “logical” reasons and not enough “just because”. Different parts of the brain and soul. When I was trucking in the forested regions of Canada, I had a few places where I could park the truck safely and just walk into the woods and watch beavers working and building their dams and chopping down trees. Loved it. Between Sudbury and Toronto, there is one place close to the road where the beavers have built a dam that is about 6 feet high and stretches around 150 feet long. They have an huge pond behind it filled with beaver dams. Incredible to watch. And absolutely logic-less (the watching,that is).

    Your mountain breakaway was amazing – it really helps to know that the majesty of Nature continues on without our intervention. That we really can relax completely and the world won’t fall apart. And yet, still, we are important – just not omnipotent. That’s someone else’s job, a job we are free to admire..

    I can certainly understand your motivation Mama. And I applaud it. If more people did that I think that sales of anti-depressants would drop precipitously.

    Thanks for a great post and wonderul pictures Mama – bears and all. Ha! Love your logic – sorry I only hike when there is at least one person slower than me on the trail. Bear protection. Ha!

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    1. “Nature continues on without our intervention”
      I think that sums it up, my friend.
      It’s not surprising that your warm, appreciative soul would take a much needed break from the stress of navigating a semi. I’ve not yet traveled to Canada…sounds like something to add to my bucket 🙂

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      1. Given you like nature, you’d love it here. Nature is never far from your door. Canada is larger than the US with only 1/10 the population. Please do come and visit.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Beautiful. Just beautiful, Michelle. You capture just as much in your words as you do your stunning photos. I can’t picture you being unkind in any way, but perhaps that break was what the soul needed for its nourishment. Lovely stuff, as usual. Keep posting more of “you”.

    Blessings
    Paul

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    1. Awww….thank you, Paul.
      You’ve been on my mind a lot lately, too. I think you head into marathon weekend? I miss marathon running…that provided a very similar feeling and soul nourishment that the mountain did.
      Best wishes and I can’t wait to hear about it!!
      As always, thank you for taking the time to stop and comment. You mean the world to me dear friend.

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    1. Hi Scott!
      Even though I’m in Colorado every few weeks, I haven’t been back to Boulder since the time you traveled with me! I think of you often and hope that you and your family are doing well. I’ve done a very, very poor job of staying in touch. I’ll send you a note today. Michelle

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  14. what a fantastic post – and in my reader I only saw the fleetwood mac song and a quote came up = and it was meaty – but then the funny thing is that I came to the post and got into reading – and I traveled with you and felt that thin Colorado air through the window – and felt you get grounded by your climb in Boulder – and awed at the mom notes and the friend plugs – ❤ and chuckled at imagining you all being too loud – – and then suddenly the song showed up again – and it was like I was different from just moments earlier when only the box showed up with that in it….
    anyhow, have a great weekend amiga
    <<>>

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    1. Hi Yvette,
      Just so you know…you crossed my mind atop that mountain as well 🙂 I thought about how I’ve just not been able to spend time at people’s blogs like I usually do. I treasure the time spent reading others and it seems selfish to have people read me and I not return the favor. That said, this little community is so understanding and friends like you know that I’ll be back to return the kindness.
      Also scratching my head at the reader. I’m so glad you commented on that part of it! I purposefully pick a “featured image” so that it’s not a video that shows in the reader. Thank you for hanging with me through the beginning. Your kind words made my day. It only made sense that you traveled with me….I invited you 🙂 Hope you and yours are doing great. I think of you often! xo

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      1. Hi mama-joy – sorry to be just be getting back here – but I had all my notifications off and so there were many comments I left a note on and never made it back to see replies- and not that we have to make it back – but it is sometimes just fun.

        also, I wanted to share my opinion on blog visits. You may have had a different experience or opinion, but at the start of my second year of blogging, I see that blog visits can be like house guests. Sometimes people come and visit for two weeks in a row and then you do not see them for a long time. Whereas others seem to be more regulars – like closer neighbors who drop by with a quick line or two. And then others only wave – or click like and then head on their way – and I think there are two more groups…. the 4th are the ones that read but never leave a comment and never click like. But they visit and it is just cool to have that readership – and then there are the others – they only come by everyone in a while – and this is actually how they follow so many blogs – when they have time they seem to visit and read a bunch of posts and then do not come back for 6 mos.

        I find that I sometimes take on each of those blog visitor roles and never mind when my readers do…
        and all that to say – don’t ever feel pressured to drop on by – and know that I am right there and when the visit comes naturally – well drop on by – and if it feels right – leave a simple message or one of your inspiring paragraphs. And actually I know that sometimes breaks are good – we start to miss someone and they appreciate them more when they show up again.

        In closing, just want to say that I am honored that you thought of me while on the mountain.
        and whew, we are missing Colorado this week – not just because it is fall and the Aspens look so purdy – but the Broncos have a home game tonight – and they have been on the news all week….and I know my husband is missing his home – well we both are. Even though we still do not want to live there again (need lake or ocean access) but you know how it is.

        Okay dear mamma-joy – have a sweet rest of the week and come around when the time is right. and when you do, I’ll have a song playing just for you.
        ❤ ❤

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      2. Dear Yvette,
        Wow…you have no idea how much your words mean to me this morning. Truly…in so many ways. Your description of the blogger visitors are so spot on and I love that you shared how you can be each depending on what’s happening at the time. It’s also warm and comforting to think of each visitor as a guest in my home.
        Honestly, I’ve been dealing with a lot of guilt in that area. I’m SO grateful for everyone who stops by and comments and then mournful when I’m not able to visit as often as I like. What ends up happening is that I quit writing and reading all together. I feel bad for “putting something out there” if I haven’t even had time to read what my friends are up to.
        Your gentle words and experience tell me that there’s no “right or wrong” way to be a good blogger buddy. I know who my life-long friends are and I know people (like you) will welcome me back with open arms when I come their way again.
        Seriously…your words are exactly what I needed today. You are a true blessing, my friend. xo

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      3. ❤ thanks for saying that ❤
        and one of my favorite blog memories of you was "Oh, kenny first thing in the morning…" (something like that – ha!)
        anyhow, keep it natural – but don't let your hospitality and giving side rob your readers of your posts – because while visiting is important – I don't think it should be even with posts – cause that would be exhausting even for an extravert – ha! cause that is a lot of visiting and can pull…

        anyhow, after my break I had some readjusting to do and just did not want to post every day anymore. and so another thing I noticed is that posts are different – where some people pour out 3 pics in a night or a daily thousand – others do that once a week or thrice a week – or one a month…. and so i am still finding my way – but I do know that if it becomes obligatory or has any heaviness – I will do exactly what you did – just pause to let things percolate.
        <>

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  15. Reflections on the mountainside… God really knew what He was doing when He created such beauty to make us stop and take notice of what’s really important. I like your comment about being on the mountain top grounding you. Very powerful visual for me.

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  16. I’ve been thinking of that song all day. When I saw the vid in my reader I was sorta bummed cause I thought it was to another song. How surprised was I when it turned out to be Landslide. I liked your post, I have no Idea what you were “worried” about publishing it cause it was too much “you”. Tell the story! It’s yours isn’t it?

    *note: totally love the picture of the tree at the top of the rock. Kinda reminds me of…….hmmmm, maybe an idea of God perhaps, old, battle-torn and scarred, but at the top nonetheless. The survivor, all alone at the top, weathered and beaten by the storms of time, surviving….. and presiding over his kingdom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello dear friend! I have missed you!!
      Thank you so much for the kind words. I do like the same picture you mentioned. I almost missed it, too. I was already on the way down and at the last minute turned around to see that little gift…loved the tree at the top. It’s also what prompted me to use Landslide–I’d been waiting to use that song somewhere.
      I hope you are doing well, my friend. I seriously need to hop over and see what you’ve been writing about. I’ve been a little remiss in that area.
      Thank you for stopping in and making my day! xo

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  17. i just loved this, Michelle. I’m so glad that you were able to get some perspective through the space, vastness and majesty of the mountains. Much of this post resonated with me, but what I let sink deep in my heart was this:

    “Busy” seems like a horrible excuse, but it’s the two-syllable word that I offer automatically when questioned.”

    I am guilty of using the same. And oftentimes “busy” is my excuse to not be be present and not to allow God to blossom at the center of Everything. Perspective if key, but perspective without action is like bringing the main course while dessert is being served. I don’t want to be too little too late in my own life. And from this text, I gather you don’t either.

    Thank you for sharing your heart and considerings.

    With blessings,
    Dani

    P.S. Go Royals!! Your boys are on a roll!!! 😉

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    1. Hi Dani,
      Always so great to hear from you! In fact, I know that you have a passage waiting in my queue begging to be read. I’m saving it for just the right time.
      As always, your comments resonate with me. Especially this: And oftentimes “busy” is my excuse to not be present and not to allow God to blossom at the center of Everything.
      *Gulp. So true. I’m so guilty of the same.
      But, this is how we work together, right? Gentle reminders of what’s important and the ever-gentle nudge to help.
      Blessing right back at you! xo

      (Thank you for watching my Royals!!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I saw that it was a heavy subject. I have no doubt that I will appreciate anything you write. It takes bravery to write about less than pretty subjects and I have no doubt you did it with God’s grace and guidance.
        You are an amazing and special woman…so glad our paths crossed!
        Xo

        Liked by 1 person

  18. See, so many people wouldn’t have sought the trail, or thought of loved ones, or even if they found the trail, would have reflected on their interactions so profoundly.

    We all need that time, whether it’s a Rocky Mountain trail or just a deli cookie in the middle of the afternoon. Respite is respite. I’m glad you found it again in a blood moon after curfew!

    The words you share – on your blog and in the thoughtful comments you pen – matter. It’s interactions we other bloggers have with bloggers like you that not only keep us going …

    they keep us striving for better, appreciating more and reflecting whenever we get the moment. Thank you for that.

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    1. Eli–you just completely made my day. Seriously!
      It’s a humble honor to know that my words matter…it helps me find that purpose on days the words don’t come. Like today!

      What you say matters, too. Your family is so blessed to have a wise man like you. As always, I love it when you stop by. It means the world to me!

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    1. Hi Beth!
      Could you feel me channeling “Mountain Mama” the whole time? Yep. You were one of the precious folks on my mind that day. I hope you enjoyed your time in Yellowstone this past summer and that you get to go when the mountains call you back. *hugs back*

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