It seems no matter how I’m feeling or what’s been going wrong, or just not altogether right, the higher I ride, climb or drive into the mountains, the higher my spirits soar. Literally. It’s a physical feeling. I find myself sighing without warning, smiling for no reason, and helplessly uttering wow!
There’s something magical about those awe-inspiring heights that roll along one after the other, building, building, building toward heaven. Whenever I get the chance to travel, that’s where I want to head. Thankfully, we have a lot of them here in Pennsylvania. It’s one of the things I love about this state even though I don’t get to live among those peaks–not yet anyway.
Honestly, I think it’s hereditary, though I wasn’t born there. Never lived in them anywhere. Never stayed more than a week at a time in them on any trip, but somehow they’re in my blood.
I blame it on my father. He told me stories of his mountain home in North Carolina from the time I was old enough to sit at his feet and listen. I watched Andy Griffith’s Mayberry RFD, the Beverly Hillbillies, Hee Haw, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, the Walton’s, Little House on the Prairie, and all kinds of old westerns with him every week as a child. He made it clear how much he longed to go back to his mountain home to live one day. It never happened for him, but that’s another story.
My fiance` and I had the opportunity this past weekend to go to Pine Creek Gorge in the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon near Wellsboro, and the same nostalgia for a place I’ve never lived overwhelmed me once again. Getting out in nature, standing on the precipice of a majestic mountain is somehow healing. I recommend it!
It helps me refocus on what really matters. Worries about all the changes in life, about not measuring up, about my weight, about not making enough money, about what others think of me, they all seem to dwindle as I gaze at those beautiful peaks, winding rivers, flowing waterfalls, rushing streams, and soaring eagles. Yes, we saw an eagle–and an impressive red-tailed hawk.
Staying in basic accommodations, building fires and hiking the outdoors reminds me, we can manage to rough-it if necessary. Of course we didn’t rough-it the whole time, but it comforts me to know we could. We’ve got some skills. Which I highly recommend as well. We all ought to know how to manage on less, and come up with our own resources if the need would arise.
Maybe just as important though, everyone ought to have their happy place. Somewhere we can breathe in, let it out, and just relax. Somewhere that answers the nostalgic echo in our souls. Somewhere that speaks to the magic in our hearts.