It distressed me that we were standing in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and he couldn’t see it.
We were hiking amid gigantic rocks that twist and spiral to the sky. They rise like impossible pillars – swirled like clay from a giant’s hand, some ancient creature who stopped and twirled himself a playground. Grey and black and cream and rough with seashells, even though there is no sea here. Still, there must have been, here are the shells passing by my shoulder I walk, here I can run my fingers along them encrusted.
You can stand on the bluffs and look out over the plains where the orange tiled rooftops of the town nestle up to the base. Mountain towns seem the same everywhere, tenacious children that cling & tuck in for a nap, hardy and charming with ruddy cheeks. The blue mountains beyond wrap themselves in blankets of cloud and snow.
It is ragged, and wild, and gorgeous, and I only wanted to stay.
We had reached the monastery, one of many that was beautifully and carefully built and rest on the tops of the rock like they have always been there. Wood and stone, carried up in nets, planned and placed and cared for. Cherished. You can see it in the neatness of the walkways and flowers, the shine of the benches and floors. These are sacred spaces, not only because of the breathtaking beauty in the air around, but because of the painstaking care within. What dedication it would take to live in this way; what grace it would take to allow the trampling hordes inside.
He checked his watch, ready to leave.
I’m not blaming him, really – or at least I’m trying not to. At a young age, he has traversed more of this world than maybe I ever will. He’s doing what he set out to do; successful and confident.
Still, it has stuck in my craw for some reason, and I don’t think it’s so that I can grab him by the shirt collar through the internet and give him a good talking-to. No, instead, I’m trying to let it speak to me, since I am the only one that I can actually force to listen.
And this is what I hear:
Go to the wild places,
stop and notice.
Get it down in whatever way you can:
pictures, words, meditations.
Carry them home.
There will always be someone checking their watch.
There will always be something you might miss
somewhere else to see.
But you – let all that go
you stop and stay
hold and nourish
run your fingers along the edges and dream.