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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.