Hills And Mountains

Please note: The travel described here occurred in the past. Today, I do not recommend that anyone who is, or may possibly be, pregnant travel to this state. A miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy cannot be safely treated under this state’s current laws. Please care for yourself and travel to places where your life and health are valued.

A Rollercoaster For My Car

I never realized how much I missed the mountains until I saw them again.  Living in Florida, there are a couple hills, by Florida standards, but from most places you can see all the way to the horizon.  When I flew to California in the spring of 2004, I noticed the mountains reach in many directions reminding me how much their absence affected me once we were reunited.  Growing up in the Valley of the Sun, the mountains surrounded me, always there, so I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed them and how their ever-presences surrounded my heart.  Sounds cheesy, I know, but I do draw energy from their presence.  It’s not about their constancy, although I do like that, but rather something I can see in the distance and knowing there’s something on the far side.

Don’t discount the value of hills, either.  While they may not call to me from their distant vantage point, driving over them, especially when the road swoops and bends through them, makes driving oodles of fun.  I remember one hill in Germany where the slope and speed required a shift from one gear to the next (hint: way more fun in a standard than an automatic) and the vehicle pauses in midair, enjoying the hill as much as I do.  My favorite hills lie between Lee Vining and Benton, California (see The Mystery Of Sage from November 2014), and collectively form a roller coaster for my car – really for any car – because I’ve driven it more than once in more than one vehicle and I just love those hills.

My Mountains

I’ve driven up and over many ridgelines, but I lived and worked in the Big Horn Mountains and I feel a kinship to them unlike any others.  When moving from Utah to North Dakota, I paralleled my mountains and talked to them as if they were listening.  They stood silently, reminding me they are always here for me when I am in the area.  When I finally cross over them years later, each curve, peak, and pullout remain in my memory and bounce back to life in their majestic comfort.  I’ve written tales of their beauty and the imprint they’ve left on my life.  I’ve looked back at the photos and continue to give thanks for the time I spent in their heights.

Then, on my flight from Denver to Billings, I peer out the window, knowing we are over central Wyoming, and I am above them.  On a crystal clear day, I am looking down on the Cloud Peak Wilderness, the snow-covered elevations, and the rugged appearance that the shadows from the solid-white jagged edges affect.  I don’t feel above them, simply marveling in a fresh view as if they are giving up another secret about their brilliance.  These mountains, like the rolling hills near Mono Lake, delight me in a way others might not even notice.  Driving along California 120 and flying north to Montana may be trite to others, but for me, the hills and mountains lift me up, even higher that climbing to their highest peak, driving over their mounds, or flying above their elevations.  They remind me of something else, something I cannot see, something I can only experience and adore.

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