As I have grown older, there have been many things I have to complain about. I have started running, and have kept on a running routine all summer, and I love it, however my knees and ankles don't. They hurt a lot. Complain, complain. When I brush my teeth at night, I multi task by taking tweezers and comb through my hair, weeding out the greys. Now, all of the sudden, they are everywhere. There are too many to pull. Complain, complain.
I still have a hole in the middle of my house, no pantry or downstairs bathroom which will not change in the foreseeable future. Complain, complain.
I can easily say things are stressful right now, and I can complain all I want, but in reality, it is pretty much pathetic. If these are my biggest problems right now, I have it pretty darn easy. Scratch that. I have the easy button. Shame on me.
It is typical and normal to get drawn in to your own problems. A natural response to humanity, I suppose. However, for me, I need to center myself when the big bad world gets too big. A place to go to where I can shed myself, hollow out my insides, and fill it back up. A place that humbles me, and shuts out the problems that seem so foreboding. A place where I can live, breathe, and dance easily. A place where me and God can be at peace, and I can feel Him with every fiber of my soul. I need that rejuvenation, and feel so fortunate that those places I have chosen, or yet, the places that have called to me, are within a decent driving distance.
The first place, my most favorite place on this Earth, is Cannon Beach. I will blog about that trip later. My second place, a very close second, is Mt. Rainier.
I love her.
She is dangerous, gorgeous, inspiring, unforgiving, possessive, and predictably unpredictable. We've been there in August and it is barely scratching at 50 degrees, and we have been there in August and it is 80 degrees and climbing. She is pure beauty, but underneath that lacy white dress, make no mistake, she is darkness underneath. I used to not understand why people would want to climb her, now I understand. She is hypnotic and can bewitch the best of them in the blink of an eye. She makes you want to climb, climb,and climb some more, baiting you with a danger coated beauty.
This year we took Lavern to Ohanapecosh, a campground on the Sunrise side. We usually poke around the Paradise side, so this was new and exciting.
Great campground, I highly recommend it. As we were eating dinner the first evening, Grace paused, tipped her head to the side and said, "someone is tuning a violin." We looked at her and shrugged. Not long after, we heard music, beautiful music, gliding through the evergreens. It sounded too good to be live music, it must be someone playing a CD we thought, so we continued eating, then heard the faint sound of clapping when the song was finished. Okay, we must check this out. So, in mid bite, we dropped our dinner, and followed the sound to a small outdoor amphitheater, mid campground, with a group of four people on stage in their campground grubbies playing the most beautiful music.
Come to find out it was a family that was staying there at the campground that had asked permission to put on an impromptu concert. They sang too, and invited their parents and brother onstage where they joined in a beautiful harmony. You know those uber talented families where each of them has this huge talent and you shake your head because it is almost too much talent? This was them. A full, concert grade family of talent.
After the performance, one of the ladies was nice enough to show Grace a thing or two on the violin. It was a magical evening that felt far away from the rest of the world.
The next day we got in the truck and went to check out Sunrise. It was a big deal for me, as I've always wanted to go up there, and managed to keep my breakfast down on the way up. One thing about Rainier. The roads. I am not a fan. Steep, no shoulder, if-you-make-a-mistake-you-will-fall-off-a-monster-cliff kind of road. It was traumatic for me, that drive.
About a mile or two before the park gate to go up to Sunrise, the traffic was at a standstill, and there we stood for a good twenty minutes and didn't move an inch. We were on vacation time, so we forgot. It was Saturday. Boo. Not a day you want to explore one of Washington's most visited areas. So, reluctantly, knowing it was completely packed up there and we were going nowhere fast, we turned around and slunk back to the campground. No worries though, we found The Grove of the Patriarchs to explore, instead.
So, the best thing about the campground was the swimming hole. It was in the mid eighties when we were there, so, I was all over that. Jeremy, not so much. It was clear as a bell, bright aqua blue, and about thirty- seven degrees. Just a hair above freezing, pure glacial water. Taking a dip renewed my soul, and brought me closer to the mountain. Splashing in her waters, it felt like a gift.
Through the stay at the mountain, Grace was working hard at earning her Junior Ranger patch and badge. At each state park in Washington and Oregon, you can earn these. She was so pleased to earn it, a happy memory for her for sure!
Our next stop was about 45 minutes off the mountain, a place called Rimrock Lake. I was super bummed to be leaving Ohanapecosh, and was kicking myself for not making longer reservations on the mountain, but the campground was full, so, off we went.
But something was bugging me. I still didn't feel finished. The mountain wasn't done with me, and I wasn't done with her, so she called me back.
That evening I told Jeremy I had to go back. It was a longer drive than before, and we would have to forgo spending the day laying on our floaties on the lake, but I had to go back and see Sunrise. So early the next morning we left Lavern at the lake and headed back up the white knuckled drive to Sunrise. This time, on a Tuesday.
The elevation is the highest you can go on the mountain without climbing her, so being up there felt like being close enough to hug her. As soon as we crested the last hill and pulled into the parking lot I exhaled. I found what I was looking for.
Jeremy didn't want me to post this on the blog. Well, it's my blog. And, it makes me giggle like a 4 year old.
I hope, if your world is stressed, you can hear what is calling to you. It may be a person, it may be a place. I know it is not easy to make the time or afford the expense to follow the voice, but, even if it is once every five years, or once every ten years, be kind and treat yourself to follow the calling with this one, precious life you are given.
You just might find what you are looking for.
***September is a busy work month, I hope to blog, but it may be spotty at best. Be back soon!! : ) ***