(That's feet, not inches)
When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop,
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,
How gracious, how benign, is Solitude;
Wordsworth, The Prelude, lns. 354-57.
My mom and I took an impromptu trip to the mountains, roughly an hour north. She wanted to check out a place for our family reunion this summer. I was the moral support.
We couldn't have picked a more beautiful day.
Most people would say that going into the mountains does something to them (think John Denver, Rocky Mountain High). I agree. The land all around was pristine, hardly a footprint. Everything fresh. Every breath, piney and alive. It's a spiritual experience, being in the mountains, isn't it?
When I'm off the beaten path I feel stripped of everything that seemingly identifies me in my crazy daily life. In the mountains it's just me and nature. The "stuff" gets left behind, and frankly, not missed at all. Thoreau's Walden seems very enticing. But I have kids to think about, so that thought doesn't last long.
I had some time to myself while my mom spoke with a park ranger about exciting things like sheets and cleaning supplies.
When you step away from all the stuff that tugs you in different directions, all the things that have to get done, all the places you need to be, it's so much easier to see those things as they really are. Things that matter, things that don't. Things that have lasting value, things that make you feel important for a moment. How the things I do affect the people I love.
There's a lot I need to change. There's a lot I do well. I was grateful for the clarity. All I have to do now is make it happen, make the change. That's the hard part. I get tired just thinking about it and at the same time I can't think of a more meaningful way to pass the days. Striving is good, hard work.