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Entries in mountains (28)



This Christmas break contains nearly everything I have asked for: quiet, underscheduled, uncrowded.  I am trying to honor the simple rhythm of tasks that must get done.  Stove stoked.  Meditate.  Breakfast.  Dishes.  Play Dough.  Wood split.  Firewood loaded.  Sledding.  Snack.  Nap.  Etc.

It sounds more peaceful than I feel.

I am halfway through my 30-day meditation challenge.  I imagined claiming space for this would bathe me in a peaceful, dreamy light, but it hasn't really been like that.  It's been like watching my mind quiver and buzz and alight onto a million trivial things that I would like to care less about.  It's been observing that even when I give myself room to be alone, I bring with me a dozen real or perceived snipes, snubs and gripes that I know I need to let go.  I know.  But here we are, sitting in the dark and quiet together.  I notice that I feel alone, and not in the good way.

I am thinking a lot about 2012 in the quiet of this week.  Considering what to invite with me and what to leave behind.  What to cleave to, and what to be cleaved from.  More doing.  Less thinking.  More alone.  More together.  More dreams.  Less doubts.  More hope.  Less reason.  More movement.  More rhythm.  More joy.  Yes, please.


In the Fog

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.

- Ansel Adams


Simple Steps

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? 


Enchanted Forest, Or Why There's No Point In Hiking With Me

354.365 16mm f6.3 1/125 ISO 200I 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.

355.365 24mm f2.8 1/320 ISO 200I 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.


Long Memory

347.365 200mm f8 1/500 ISO 200My 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.

348.365 38mm f5 1/80 ISO 400Old friend.  Long memories.  Golden light.  I like it that way.

photo courtesy of Will, and no, we haven't changed much since we were four