Entries in mountains (27)
A couple of months ago in this space, I cast a vision of how I want to be in this world. Part of it was
to have the exact amount of pressure from within and without to maintain my form
and I think it's safe to say that lately this has not been my experience. I've been feeling myself in a tug-of-war between dreams and responsibility, between the possibilities for what could be and deeply-felt commitments to my community, between wanting to race forward headlong into a vivid future and wanting to crawl into bed, pull the down comforter over my head and sleep.
Thanksgiving was this way too: a convergence of treasured family and friends in a quiet place that represents for me the fulfillment of dreams. And yet I felt antsy, stuck, and tired for a lot of it. I communed with my loved ones, ate far more than my fair share of pie, went to bed early, slept for long stretches. All of that was good for me, but it wasn't until yesterday, when I bundled up and trekked out into the 20° morning that a real feeling of well-being settled over me.
The cold, clean air scoured my skin and lungs. The stagnant energy that had settled over me felt lifted. This felt like a simple, concrete step I could take toward a more peaceful me.
I'm going to explore more exercises in wellbeing here over the coming weeks as I stumble upon them. Do you have any concrete tips? As the holiday season picks up steam, what do you do to maintain balance?
I have, apparently, become impossible to hike with.
This weekend was one of peaks for fall color - which, in Colorado's high country means everything is yellow yellow yellow. That's because aspens are basically the only deciduous trees in the mountains and they turn gold in autumn.
Aspen trees are as charming as they come, to my mind. Standing armies of stark white trunks, quivering heart-shaped leaves, a delicate rustling sound. Also, they share a root system, so while they may look like individual trees, they are really one big interconnected community. This appeals to me on a metaphorical level.
I was preoccupied with finding the perfect aspen grove and capturing that fleeting, magical fall feeling.
But this weekend reaffirmed my suspicion that a photowalk is best undertaken solo. It doesn't adhere to the logical forward progression of the trail. It is winding and slow and moves in fits and starts, guided by generally imperceptible shifts in light and shadow and halted by tiny details.
I noticed this weekend that it is probably only minimally enjoyable for, say, a squirmy 35-pound-toddler or the lucky patient strong parent who must carry him.
My hope is that fresh mountain air and quivering golden aspen leaves are their own reward.
My childhood friend, Rainy, came to Colorado this weekend for the first time in well over a decade. I spent the weekend showing her around some of my favorite places in the high country, places so very different from where we grew up in North Carolina, but which evoke a certain familiar nostalgia for the rural children we were way back then.
Rainy remembers everything. I mean everything. She could probably tell you exactly what I was wearing on the day we met. When we were four.
I, on the other hand, have a selective memory. But what I do remember is now bathed in a warm golden light like it was captured on a roll of film from 1970-something, or like it has that fleeting melancholy feel of an Indian summer day.
Old friend. Long memories. Golden light. I like it that way.