First, a golden yellow. Then, a warm orange. Then, a light pink and a soft purple hue. Finally, the monotone blue-gray sky of a departed sun. The tundra is green and full of wildflowers. A bird whistles somewhere nearby, and I can hear the sound of the creek flowing over the hillside. I pause to sit and watch the colors in the clouds fade. The end of the day is always a sigh. We have no agenda but to let the moon and the stars shine through… if your eyes don’t close before they appear. Sometimes a destination seems far away, but you finally reach it, worn out but content.
I haven’t been present in my surroundings lately. My thoughts are adrift in the things I need to be doing, but I’m hardly able to focus on any one of those things. A chronic foot injury has kept me from running much, which is usually my sigh of relief when I need space to turn off my brain. However, I was fortunate to backpack for a few days recently, and I recalled the tranquil mind only being fully immersed in nature can provide.
“I like to get away from it all; away from the pressures, away from the pretentions that people live with. There’s no need to broadcast what we are doing. Let’s just climb.”—Art Davidson, Minus 148 Degrees
As I climb the puzzle of granite boulders, I squeeze myself between rocks, relying on the friction of my shoes and the strength in my arms to keep me connected. As I scamper to the summit, I rest on a large, flat stone, the butterflies still fluttering around my body. I try not to think of the downclimb for now. I rotate in a circle and take in the surrounding mountains of where I live. I’m standing atop Jagged Mountain, an infamously remote and difficult peak—a mountain that has eluded my abilities until now. A smile creeps across my face, another elusive attribute these days. For a moment, I don’t think of anything outside of where my feet stand.
I know that given time, my stress and injury will ebb. But for now, I look to the fleeting moments in nature to emulate.
I wish I were as stoic as a mountain or as patient as a pine. I wish I were as calm as the creek or as soft as the snowfall. I wish I were as refreshing as the rain or as shining as the stars. I wish I were all the things that nature is, but if nothing else I can at least rest amongst all these wonders.
Call for Comments
When was the last time you used movement through the natural world to quiet your inner self?