“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
Nothing calms my soul and re-energizes my spirit like being in the mountains. In June, we drove from Houston to the Grand Tetons for a family vacation. (Yes, you read that correctly, we drove…with a toddler, completely unplanned – I’ll be sharing that fun story in a future post!) While I was worried about the long drive, it afforded us the time to spend admiring the scenery as we journeyed up to our final destination. Driving through Colorado and seeing those beautiful Rocky Mountains with the foothills gently rising in front of them was good for my soul. Luckily, my husband was doing the driving and I took full advantage admiring the Front Range rise on the horizon.
But back to our drive… Let’s talk about Wyoming for a minute. While filled with some rolling hills, it’s a pretty drab landscape, until you turn north to head towards the Tetons. It reminds me a bit of Eastern Colorado (except farming dots the landscape in that area of Colorado). There are very few trees in southeastern Wyoming, it is instead filled with low grasses and sagebrush, miles and miles and miles of it. It’s almost like God is preparing you; helping you to appreciate the incredible beauty of the impressive mountain range you are steadily driving towards. We drove for hours and hours, seeing the same landscape, and then, we made a turn and there were the mountains! Popping up out of nothing, there they are, towering over the landscape. The Grand Tetons. Their impressive peaks and deep crevices filled with glacial snow and ice have a commanding presence over the landscape.
During our 5 days spent in the Tetons, we embraced the outdoors. With our family we took a boat ride around Jackson Lake, took several small hikes in the area, visited Yellowstone National Park, and stole quiet moments to admire the scenery. We topped off the week by hiking around Jenny Lake to Hidden Falls. I remember fondly hiking Jenny Lake with my parents, sisters, and grandparents when I was younger. I somehow recall it being an easier walk than the one we took (I’m pretty certain they have diverted the trail around the leisurely one we took in the past). My little guy (he’s nearly 3) started out strong, but was soon up on daddy’s shoulders. As we climbed, the path became narrow, rocky and infinitely more treacherous, this is when he fell fast asleep, on top of daddy’s shoulders, as we hiked. He woke as we sat at the end of our hike, admiring the powerful Hidden Falls. It took him a few minutes to gather his bearings, but once he did, he was off climbing the massive boulders and trying to collect the biggest of sticks that were surrounding the area. To see my nearly three -year old climbing rocks, picking up sticks and seeing those big mountains for the first time was a joy! It’s my hope that my little Texan grows up to love and appreciate and the mountains as much as I do.
I remember how much my papa loved the Tetons. He’d take my nana up there as often as he could, and we’d often join them as they vacationed up there. He took hundreds and hundreds of pictures, slides really, of his time spent in the Tetons (I’m wading through them ever so slowly), trying to capture their incredible beauty. Sitting on the back porch of Jackson Lodge, gazing at the Tetons, I could understand his fascination with these majestic beauties. While not as tall as the Rocky Mountain fourteeners, you see their full elevation climb swiftly from the meadow and Jackson Lake in front of the lodge. Their rocky faces are challenging to even the seasoned climbers, often being used as a pre-climb exercise for Mt. Everest. The glaciers that lie in their deep crevices are hundreds of feet deep, but from our view only seem to be a few feet. I feel closer to him, here in the presence of these rock giants. His love for the outdoors and this rugged beauty is a part of who I am.
As I sat on the outside patio at Jackson Lodge, toddler-free, I took deep breaths of the crisp pine-filled air. I could feel the tension from packing and traveling slowly leave my body. Each breath filled my lungs with mountain air, calming my soul, re -energizing my spirit. I felt invigorated being surrounded by those “purple mountain majesties.” In this world there are all sorts of people who find their way to renewal in different ways. Some find a beach, others a horse paddock, while others find it in the comfort of their own home. I’m a mountain girl, through and through. Sitting there, taking in the full scope of the Teton mountains, I found renewed spirit. I felt first-hand the words that John Muir wrote in 1910. Nature’s peace filled me like sunshine flows into trees, I felt cares dropping off of me like autumn leaves. In the mountains, I find peace and balance, and am in constant awe of their majestic beauty. I wish there was a way to capture it: the air, the scenery, the feeling it gives me; so that when I feel the tension rising or my spirit dragging I’d have a way to quickly come back to the feeling I have sitting in front of those glorious mountains.
So here I sit, in my Houston home in the middle of summer, trying desperately to recapture those moments spent next to those mountains; the ac is on full blast, I have nature sounds pouring through Pandora, and in my diffuser I have juniper berry & eucalyptus (not exactly mountain air, but getting there). If I close my eyes and imagine those great mountains in front of me… I’m almost there.
Take time, dear reader to find ways to renew and re-energize your spirit. Do you find solace at a beach? Find nature sounds from the beach, get a bucket of soft sand for your feet, add lime, spearmint, & lavender to your diffuser; close your eyes and picture the expanse of the ocean in front of you. Part of wellness is taking time to renew and recapture that energy, without it, we become drained and drab, much like that of the Wyoming landscape before arriving at the base of the awe inspiring mountain ranges.