A love letter to the Rockies

The Rocky Mountains restored me in a way I thought only the ocean could. My trip out west coincided with a personal crisis, which if I had been at home, alone, would have devastated me. Instead, the magnificence of the mountains made me feel small and insignificant in the best way possible. To view their majesty from an altitude that has been earned, step by step, is satisfying beyond expectation. The small petty behaviors of flawed humans, and I include myself in that category, pale beside the timeless beauty that wishes to evoke the best within us.

Climbing slowly and placing each foot carefully as we step, is a great metaphor for life. The consequences of poor decisions are dispatched quickly and without remorse by the granite powers that be. Staying on the right path, the one that will ultimately take me to my destination, takes focus both in climbing as in life. To find ones purpose, ones “peak”, is a revelation. We all search for different things, love, recognition, accomplishments. All are reflections of our desire to be acknowledged for our uniqueness. While what we desire may be different, our desires share the common thread, a deep hope, that once we achieve our loftiest goals we will somehow be more ourselves than before. We imagine the “after” as if it will be a shinier better version of us. We dream of love as if the right partner will enhance who we are, and the world will see us through our lovers eyes with kindness and compassion. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of humanity could see us through our lovers eyes? Our jokes would be funnier and our idiosyncrasies considered adorable

I beleive the magic in the journey is held in the hands of nature. For when we connect with the immovable, the steadfast and the solid we feel the love that will not fail or disappoint. My church is under a blue sky. I contemplate grand thoughts of eternity, and the ultimate source of love, while being reminded by the same sky how frail my small mortal container that I travel through life in. I am a spiritual being having a physical experience.

The beauty of the mountains is that it connects both, our bodies are reminded of this with aching muscles and burning lungs. Our spirit gets to rejoice at the peak only after our bodies have been tested and tried by physical discomfort and our commitment to staying on the right path.

How do we best combine our spiritual journey with our physical one? How to continuously strive to learn from our mistakes and evolve into the most loving and giving version of ourselves? Understanding that is is not external sources that validate us and bring us gratification, but rather sharing our journey with someone who sees in us not only what we are, but also what we aspire to be

I am open to change because I have been broken. The pieces of me have come apart and now I am putting them back together. The pieces are the same but how I fit them in a pattern will be different, must be different. To try and repeat the pattern of the unbroken, the whole, would be futile. My lines now are not straight but riddled with fractures. A new pattern will emerge. I can only hope that when sunlight makes its way through my fractured casing, the refracted light will be soft and as if through a prism new colors will emerge.

 

 

Tactile

For many people scent evokes memories and brings them back in time. For me, it’s touch. I can close my eyes and “feel” the soft skin of babies bellies, the fur of the horse I lost many years ago and the feel of an unshaven lovers cheek. My hands hold memories for me. Folding the pages of a book, poetry that with complicated imagery evokes the pain and joy of love, and pages that tell tales. Right now as I write this, Unchained Melody is playing and my hands tell me that they were once touching skin to skin. I’m physically able to remember the feel and textures of places and people in my life. I both remember and feel the weight of a wine glass in my hand, and I can see the beautiful view of a Valley through the glass, it is late afternoon and I’m in a magical setting. A view before me and cutlery on the table, heavy with anticipation of a perfect meal. Of all the senses, touch is the one I respond to. Yes of course, talk to me and by all means appeal to my cerebral side, but more than anything let me feel the moment. Really. Feel. The. Moment. 

I bake, kneading dough while opera is playing in the background. My fingers sticky with the combination of liquids and solids that make our daily bread possible. As I knead the dough I feel connected to every baker before me, every hand that rolled and patted and shaped the stuff of sweet smelling kitchens. In a different life I would have been a baker or a chef.  I touch the dough and it talks to me, I can feel if I need to add more liquids or flour. I can feel if I have kneaded enough and the dough needs to rest. 

Then once the bread is made, I touch the warm loaf and feel connected to the generations of bakers before me. Humanity discovered the magic of fermentation and yeast, and ever since , hands just like mine have kneaded and shaped, patted and rolled to make the most basic of nourishments. 

My hands are the happiest when they are creating something. Baking, cooking, knitting, caressing and holding. Life is better shared, and our hands are what we use to give the gifts of touch, and love. Homemade bread says I love you.  A back rub or touching a favorite body part says I love you. My hands express the essence of what I am always fumbling to say. I love you.