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A Place to Belong

For all of my days on this earth I have always struggled to feel a sense of belonging. That feeling I watch others embrace whether it be a connection  with their own family, their home town… Even with their homes. I’ve always felt like a wanderer – not the romantic kind, the adventure-fevered Instagram craze, just that deep restless feeling of not belonging where my feet are at in the now. The acceptance and peace that I’ve always craved in a foundational sense of belonging. I find solace in the quiet and loneliness of the mountains. Maybe it’s a sense of my own smallness, the magnitude of those dark brooding shadows. I feel comfort feeling lost in the giant space. There is no placement, no territory, no tangible sense of mine, yours, theirs. It becomes a vast space that belongs to no one. And there I am able to feel at home.

When I was a kid we went camping as often as we were able. My Dad was a forest ranger for a long time before any of us kids entered the picture. He knew many off the path type of places, the best places that no one else seemed to know about. As we’d drive up the mountain side my Dad would point out things to us, instruct us to pay attention to our surroundings. He offered a small prize to the first one to spot a wild animal. Before the days of having cell phones, or movies playing in the car, this was the best way to make time pass – our eyes would stay glued to the window in hopes of spotting a buck or MAYBE even a rare Colorado ram peering through those dark shadowy trees.


At least we’d reach the ‘special place’.The spot I remember the most was a secluded site far away from other campers. There nestled into the lap of the mountain itself, the perfect clearing. So picturesque in my mind I remember it clearly. An open space full of lush scrabbles of grass and gentle wildflowers. A small creek ran through it and against all sides was the slopes of the mountain itself. It formed a frame around the upper top of the valley, like a diamond cut frame against the sky, the pine tops staggered in sharp contrast. It was here me and my older brother built a dam in the creek, also where my Dad first taught me how to weave the wildflowers into a crown. Being a forest ranger as well as a self educated biologist my Dad would point out various forms of interest. Wildflowers and all sorts of growing things, animal tracks, even animal scat. He would pay close attention to the weather, peering overhead and always pointing out a change in weather. I felt safe. Always a sense of admiration as I trotted along making mental notes about everything and feeling validated that I too was being taught the great ways of the mountains. Maybe it’s that sense of familiarity that brings me back time and time again to the mountains – the wonder and emotion of somehow being apart of such a grand place in time. The great sense of Belonging.

Maybe it’s that sense of familiarity that brings me back time and time again to the mountains – the wonder and emotion of somehow being apart of such a grand place in time. The great sense of Belonging.

It will come as no surprise when my husband asked what I’d like to do for Mother’s Day weekend. Go to the mountains of course! We spent a delightful weekend browsing and exploring mountain areas. My heart was full. I don’t think I’ll ever live up to my Dad’s legacy of teaching the outdoors like he did but I loved watching my kids excitement over the mountain areas. Perhaps, hopefully, I have passed down the great love for these beautiful mountains.

Though I don’t know the names of wildflowers that I see, I can never pass one by without stopping to pause and take note and usually a picture.

The way up was beautiful blue skies. Towards the end coming back we got some clouds and even some snow through the mountains. It’s crazy how within a few hours or even minutes at times the weather can change so drastically. We drove as far as we could before we got to the road block for current passage through the Pass. The snow was quite heavy this year and several avalanches pummeled both the road and sides of the mountain. It was a bit sad to pass by the sides that had been taken out by the onslaught of snow.

Within minutes of pulling up to this closure the snow started coming down. The crazy thing was that it passed almost as fast as it came. Blue skies again within about 15 minutes. But we enjoyed it while it lasted!

And now a view literally about 15 minutes later heading away from the road block. NOT KIDDING!

I love Colorado but I am drawn to Mountains everywhere. I have a traveling bucket list as long as my arm. I want to see them all, even looking at mountains I’ve never been to, I feel an urge as if I’d been there. I guess a sense of belonging somehow in the grand scheme of things after all…

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

Thank you for taking the time to read and join me in my thoughts. Your time is valuable and I’m honored you spent a few minutes here. xx

Much love,

Rachel

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