“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 away from you like the leaves of autumn.”
Last month was difficult for my family - we lost my 86-year-old father-in-law to Parkinson's disease. While he had a good, long life it was hard to let him go. My mother-in-law needed extra care and there were many details to take care of. We are still processing the change and it will be some time yet before we're done.
People deal with grief in many different ways but what helps me cope is to get outside in nature. The timelessness of the earth is a tonic that I drink deeply from whether I'm happy or sad.
We are lucky to live in Colorado where there are so many trails and mountains to explore. Its easy to find a peaceful, scenic place to recharge. Hiking itself expends pent-up energy and forces you to breathe deeply, a positive path towards calm thinking. Its often quiet along the trail which gives rise to a rare feeling of connection to earth and sky.
Last weekend my husband and I hiked the Sugarloaf trail, an 8000 foot peak that pulls you up through pine forest, flowering meadows and rocky outcroppings to a windy summit. It's been struck by many a lightning bolt but the flattened cone offers fine views of Boulder to the east and the Rocky Mountains to the west. Beauty was everywhere, in the view, the sweet-scented pines, flowers bending on a breeze and chipmunks scampering among the rocks at our feet.
The hike was challenging but we started from a parking spot at 7,000 feet so as not to overdo it on our first spring hike. At altitude there is less oxygen but the air is very pure and fresh and you feel cleansed by it. The summit offers 360 degree views and a spiral of rocks that someone created, perhaps as a meditation tool. There are also low sculptural pines that somehow have escaped fire and lots of bright spring flowers tucked into crevices on the rocky floor.
Wild delphiniums (mountain larkspur) dot the lower meadows. New leaves on the aspens flicker in the wind, a shining welcome to spring. Birds called a warning as a hawk circled on a thermal overhead. The path down was much faster and we felt rejuvenated. We had reached the summit and smiled at the view; now we could look forward to returning to town for lunch :)
“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.”
- e.e. cummings