Spending time in the wide open spaces of the mountain valleys and even in the more enclosed spaces, when I feel myself right up against the rock, I feel this sense of “this is the only place that I belong”. Being in the mountains, pushing my body to its physical limit, leaves no room for any other thoughts in my mind than just putting one foot in front of the other. I love this detachment from my “real” life, this detachment from the thoughts that usually cause me unneeded and undesirable stress in the “real” world. The petty thoughts that don’t really matter but seem to crowd my mind at work or at home, now have no meaning out here. My mind is free and clear to think about staying warm, safe and attaining that desired summit. My physical needs are all that matter now.
It’s this stripping down to basic needs that appeals to me. We have become so used to being distracted; to having our senses dulled that we sometimes forget how alive we can feel by feeling the bitter cold on our face, by feeling the rush of fear that forces us to focus on holding on tighter or by feeling a thirst that causes to crave water so bad that you can literally smell water vapor in the air. It’s these raw and very real needs that make me remember how simple life actually is.
In these wild places I feel so small. I feel this comforting sense of insignificance, like very little of what I do here out here will actually change this wild place. The rivers will continue to carve the land and the mountains will remain still and cold. I am calm. There are no requirements out here, the wild places demand nothing of me.