Such a cliche phrase these days…”The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir. I remember when Lyndsey Dyer posted a photo of someone calling her, with the phrase “the mountains” and I felt fire inside. It was during the time in my life that I was making a yuge decision (I hope you caught that, it means you’re probably voted Bernie 2016. Feeeel it <3). I decided to move out West; the place I had always felt drawn too. When I was younger, like most millennials growing up in the Midwest probably felt, California or NYC had my name on it. Maybe DC, or Salt Lake, where I had family. Facebook doesn’t let me forget the status updates from 2008, where I daydreamed of being a Cali girl, cruising the 1 like I belonged. As I grew older I started to know myself better and realized that I like small(er) towns. I’m simpler than most folk. I like watching the sun fade in the sky, the leaves dance in the wind, the river flow over rocks. Appreciation of nature is deep in my blood. My youngest memories are walks and trips to a river, most of all in Sun Valley, Idaho.
I remember looking up in wonder, outward in inquisition. I wondered how the wind moved around the mountains, how the river bends below in the canyon. I didn’t understand the complexities of these vast land masses. I didn’t understand because I wasn’t raised with it. Mountain was barely in my blood…but she was deep enough that I felt her gnaw since I was a young girl. I remember running as free as a bird in the mountain air, wondering how I could breathe so much better up there. I was used to zero above sea level. Michigan’s highest point is around 2500 feet above. I live at 5218′ in a high desert climate, growing zone 4b. I breathe better up here, cleaner, clearer. Like it matters, because it does. Each breathe permeates life through your body, reenergizing the blood cells, flooding the body with fluids and cells. It’s beautiful, simple, yet extraordinary.
I think I fell in love with this feeling of breathe, the energy, through yoga. Especially yoga in the mountains.
Yoga is the steady in my life. Well yoga, food, my husband, and our dogs. But you know what I mean. Yoga is always there for me. When I don’t feel right, I do yoga, and then I feel whole again. The practice of yoga is more than poses, it is the breath, the intention, the presence of the mind. It is appreciation, dedication, and joy. It is breaking down barriers and blockages. It is aligning the energy, the chakras. It is the practice of practice. And yoga is always changing. One day I can do something, the next day I can’t. One week I rarely practice and the next week I can’t stay off of my mat. Some days I find myself not feeling grateful. So I go within, and then out into nature. And I breathe.
To stand in Mountain Pose facing a mountain, focusing on the breath in lieu of the breathtaking. Almost a joke, nature’s own irony. Stand tall as a human in front of this vast landscape of Earth. Breathe, as if your own wind breathes into each tree, each flower, each rock. Breathe into the vast mountainside, over every ridge, every gully, every cliff face. Imagine the open, vast terrain. It takes you from a place of safety, in your own zone, to a place of the unknowns, the fear of reality. You are alone out there amongst the trees or sage. You’re alone with the birds and the insects, the flowers and the weeds. You resemble a piece of the ecosystem…yet you’re almost unwelcome. You are the Other. Earth, the mountains, the ecosystem, that is One. Each visit, each breath moves you closer to the One. It opens your senses, expands your vision to see beyond the mundane, the unreality of our lives. The objectification of being. The idealism that makes us believe our little idiosyncrasies, our vices, our desires are all unique. What’s unique is each sight in the landscape. Even from afar, the vision of the horizon is always changing. Change is the only option.
I moved two the mountains just over two years ago. I came, thinking I had researched enough on Pinterest to have an idea of what I was getting myself into. A few months later, I fell in love. And then the learning began. I realized quickly that if you didn’t grow up in the mountains, you don’t know shit about living in the mountains. People read things out here…they read the way the wind blows, the way the clouds are moving, the way the snow falls over the slope. They can look up and tell you what kind of tree you’re standing under, next to what drainage, at the base of what peak. They can tell you the best hike, climb, ride that you can catch. They can tell you where the river is swiftest, where the road is roughest, and where the wolf can be spotted. They know this land like I know a city – the best food truck, art gallery, and breakfast joint. But they also have a pretty good selection of those. I couldn’t give up all my know a for the unknowns. I met myself in the middle, far enough outside of my comfort zone to grow but close enough that I wouldn’t be paralyzed with fear.
I live in the in-between. Millions of acres of public land surrounded a small mountain town infiltrated with arts and culture thanks to the top 1%. Seriously, the Allen & Co. constituents come hang out here for a week every year – that’s the princes and princesses of the 1%. And they can be pretty damn cool. We get the celebrities. But we also get the philanthropists, the conservationists, the pro-athletes, and the sustainability nuts. We also have the Libertarian crazed, diesel guzzling, gun slingin’ Trump voters who hate the gays, the women with tattoos, and the foodies. My little town out West has it all. But most of all, I found myself out here… & I am forever learning the ways of the Mountain.
Until next time – with love & light ❤