The Mountains Will Always Have A Special Place In My Heart
It all started in Georgia. Coming from the flatlands of Illinois, I experienced hiking my first mountain. The climb, the struggle, the views, the exhilaration - all worth it. To look down and see how far you’ve come, to look out and realize how small you are compared to this big, beautiful world, I couldn’t have found a better high.
From there, California. The elevation was higher, the views more breathtaking, the trees more bountiful. I searched high and low for the hike. Then winter hit. I needed my high. What better way to feel the thrill of the mountains than with the thrill of freedom: snowboarding. I surely but slowly acquired my summer and winter quiver.
Snowboarding. A challenge I so happily faced. The turns I so badly wanted to hit. Wanting to summit the highest of mountains, I forced myself to learn and to learn fast. In no time, I was turning down 9,000, 10,000, 11,000 feet elevations.
I’ve learned so much about myself through these first mountain experiences. I’ve learned how to have patience for myself. I’ve learned to acknowledge that everyone is going through something different, to give way, to give access, to share the beauty of the mountains because everyone needs it. Wind whizzing past me, I see everything but yet nothing at the same time.
Fast forward to the end of 2018 in Colorado. A heartbreak is how I ended my year. I left the mountains for some grounding: I traveled home, back to my roots. Needing the time away from my new norm. When I met the mountain for the first time since the heartbreak, it was as if she knew why I was there. There, she stripped me of the pain. She eased the confusion and helped me steer clear. I was at the mountains mercy. She showed me who I was again. She gave me the confidence, she humbled me, and allowed me to lose myself within her in order to find myself again.
Mountains have a way of exposing. In my case, I was shown a completely new person. Within the course of 3 years, I went from beginning and learning to zooming through trees and double black diamonds. Within the course of 3 years, I went from a relationship I thought was a fairy tale to wanting to break from that mold.
Mountains have a way of exposing. I began merely 3 years ago and the mountain humbled me and created this tough exterior at the same time. I started out this fragile girl, wanting to be like everyone else, not knowing how I wanted to express myself to a confident, unapologetic genuine me. I was okay not wearing makeup, exposing the real me. I was okay wearing clothes that weren’t deemed “girly” or “fashionable” enough.
Mountains have away of exposing. I found this new sense of self. The mountains showed me who I could be, who I am, who I was, and who I want to be. Sometimes, it’s hard for others to see such sureness. Sometimes, it’s difficult to be with someone who is sure of themselves when you yourself are not. In my experience, I kept turning to the mountains to mend us. Overtime, our relationship ripped at the seams and exposed the truth of what we had been.
Mountains have a way of exposing. I found a set of friends that challenged me, laughed with and at me, friends that created this safe space for me to be me. The mountains brought us together and it’s a bond like I’ve never had. I couldn’t be more thankful. Sometimes a gain can mean a loss. Over time the mountains exposed this loss.
Mountains have a way of comforting. As I continue this new sense of self, this confidence, this sureness, I step into a new life knowing the mountains are there to help guide me. My solace, my mediator, my teacher.
Mountains. They snow, they have sunny days, they have avalanches, and bluebird days. Just like life, mountains teach us to adapt, to change as needed. Sometimes, you’ll be out on a sunny day and out of nowhere it begins to snow. In life, the unexpected happens. How do you react? Are you able to go with the flow?
This past year I came across the most unexpected life event. A 4 and a half year relationship done. I avoid the word failed because you can’t fail at something unless you don’t learn from it. I have learned so much from these past 4 years and I take it with me everyday. I take the lessons I need to know and contemplate them in the mountains. Where have I come from? Where am I going right now? Where do I want to be?
Mountains have a way of revealing, exposing, and showing us the way. When you release all that you are and let the mountains engulf you in its beauty, you begin to see the answers.
The mountains will always have a special place in my heart.