I’ve been back from my trip to Bali, Thailand and Laos for a little over 2 months. My friend Tylson, whom I met in Paksong, Laos and his partner Meghan stopped through last Monday. How wonderful to have “travel family” visit me here in Colorado!
After several more months of work and life, I have been feeling the need to retreat. The mountains this time of year are special. The weather has been cold so they are not too crowded. The mosquito’s aren’t out yet. Night’s are cold and days splendid. Finally, I pushed things together in a way that allowed me to head up camping last weekend. Normally, I don’t go over the weekend but that’s the way things fell into place this time.
Friday night, it got really cold up there. Saturday morning, everything was frozen! My tent wall was a solid sheet of ice, the moisture from my breathing condensing and then freezing. Water in my cooking pot was frozen, ice covered water puddles around camp.
Yet, it was a glorious cloud free morning! No wind, blue skies, stillness everywhere around. And I have such a perfect camp bed, I never really felt a chill all night.
A reset was needed. No connection to phone or internet. No projects to be thinking about or working on. No pile of clutter screaming to be cleaned up. Just a simple life to be embraced from sunrise to sunset each day. Nothing complicated but it certainly is challenging for many people. The only demand of the day: be! Be still. Be present. Listen! Feel! Notice! In that kind of stillness, nature surrounds and greets!
Before leaving, as I normally do (when I remember), I asked permission of the mountain to come for a visit. I learned this from the Shaman I studied with in the past and was reminded several years ago from my Philippine healer friend, Brother Gregorio. Ask permission! It’s a sign of respect and of connection.
Grandfather Black Elk talked about the energy people enter the forest with. Many people come barging and go thrashing about. They bring their harried nature, full of distraction and angst, charging ahead full speed and not noticing much of what is about them. I noticed this in Laos amongst some of my trekking mates. I referred to them as “shoe top” trekkers, that’s all they saw. One trekking mate from Israel plagued by a sore knee walked to the rear slower than the rest. Being in no hurry, I traveled just in front of her taking my time. I watched the tree tops, searched for the birds singing there and for other signs of life.
Later in the day, she told me she liked hiking near me. I reminded her to stop and look up, to notice and enjoy her surroundings.
Asking permission before entering the mountains, intending to go connect with the peace and stillness there and feeling calmness move into my body before I even arrive, I’m blessed by seeing a ton of wildlife.
Humming birds buzzed around my head inside my tent shelter. They were no longer checking me out to see who or what I was. Now they seemed to be greeting me, maybe even blessing me.
Last summer, a moose walked right through my camp. Two days ago, a Pine Martin came within about 10 yards of me relaxing in my hammock. The sound of my finger moving across the page got his (or her) attention. Looking up, glancing at me, it then turned it’s head and slowly ambled off in the other direction.
The mystery novel I was reading (“Critical Mass” by Sara Paretsky) even had a line about quiet. My paraphrase: “some places are so quiet, it connects a person to the quiet within”.
Campfire, mountain bike rides, hiking, moose watching, hummingbird enjoyment, cold crisp night sky gazing, beaver slapping their tail in warning at night, elk and deer, this is an amazing back yard to go and relax in. Connected once again to my own stillness within, I’m back!