I just returned from a week at Rocky Mountain National Park with eight women friends. Again, I feel transformed.
I have always said I’m an ocean person. Well, I am. I love the ocean. Most of these gals would love to live in the mountains. That has never been me. Driving across Colorado to see family in California, I’ve of course admired the beauty of the Rockies. I’ve oohed and ahhed at the magnificence each time I drove through, and I certainly felt lucky to be where I was. But my spirit has never been particularly drawn to the mountains.
Well, I suppose things can change, even within a 72-year-old heart. I suppose one can have more than one love, more than one heart’s destination.
Now I so wish I’d spent more time at RMNP all these years that I’ve lived in Missouri. I am only a long day’s drive from there. I wish I’d taken my sons there when they were young, maybe even every summer. Why not? We could so easily have done that. We went to the Grand Canyon, Zion, Yosemite, Bandolier, all camping or backpacking trips–but never to RMNP, which is so much closer. Why? I can’t know. I cannot fathom a reason–but that is one of those things you just have to let go.
Everyone knows the Rockies are absolutely breathtaking! I’ve always loved the constant motion of the ocean, but in the mountains you have the constantly moving clouds, settling comfortably in a valley, sitting high enough above to cast their unique shadows across the earth, or completely obscuring the whole mountain range in a second or two–and then sailing away, rising, or disappearing. Poof! There’s that view again. I could sit and watch that dance, one that is not unlike that of the sea and the shore, for hours.
I was able to hike, and even to hike for six hours one day, despite my worries about the altitude and breathing. We were able to hike up, on foot, to the beautiful mountain lakes and to marvel at the amazing vistas spread before us. I am so grateful for that, for my friends, for my body, for the mountains which do so change one’s perspective. And I myself am changed. I am so very grateful for all of this! And I will go back. I hope to go back again and again.
So we walked and hiked a lot in the thin air, and we breathed, and we paused often, and there were magnificent views as well as pretty little wildflowers. And there was picture taking and eating and stargazing and searching for bull moose and bear and bighorn sheep, and listening for the bull elks’ mating call.
So I’ve come away from a trip yet again with many thoughts, reflections, and realizations. Though it breaks my heart a little every time I say goodbye to my dogs, travel is good for the heart, mind, and soul. And I am immensely grateful for all that I have.
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home.”― John Muir
“I like the mountains because they make me feel small,’ Jeff says. ‘They help me sort out what’s important in life.” ― Mark Obmascik, Halfway to Heaven
“She was nothing before that view, these mountains. As insignificant to any of it as one of the stones that still rattled in her boot. It was a blessed relief, to be nothing and no one.” ― Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Silver Flames
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Thanks for listening,
P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”