PEACE IN THE MOUTAINS

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

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Turning leaves in Sun Valley

Fall is my favorite season.  After all, it’s the time of year when you can get a Pumpkin Spiced Latte at Starbucks and Costco offers their manhole-sized pumpkin pies.  This year Dairy Queen in entering the fray by offering a dessert consisting of vanilla ice cream, bits of pumpkin pie, topped with nutmeg and whipped cream.  No wonder I gain weight every October.  I come by my love of fall naturally – 20 years ago I had my colors analyzed and it was determined I’m a “Autumn”, meaning I look best in the colors found this season.  But mostly I love this time of year because this is when we make our annual trek up to Sun Valley, Idaho where the air is fresh and the leaves are turning.  And, not by coincidence, the kids are back in school so it is also quiet.

 

Redfish Lake

Redfish Lake

There is something very peaceful about being in the mountains.  I’ve read some recent articles about how people who reside in the mountains live longer.  The research indicates that it’s because of cleaner air, more outdoor activity, and increased aerobic function due to the altitude.  I don’t know about all that – I suppose if the researchers say it then it must be true.  But this week as we drove up to Redfish Lake, near Stanley, Idaho, I thought back to a study that I read years ago.  I have searched the internet to find it again but it’s probably too old even for Google’s capabilities.  The essence of the thesis was this: people who reside in the mountains live longer because they see themselves in perspective.  It went on to theorize that it is hard to take our human problems and even our very existence too seriously when staring at the magnificence of high-peaked mountains.  In other words, when we view ourselves in relation to nature we gain a greater realization that we are only a small cog in a much larger scheme.

Snow in September

Snow in September

That feeling has certainly been forefront in our trip this year.  We have marveled at the vibrant colors of leaves turning and the first dusting of snow on top of Mount Baldy.  When we are outdoors experiencing this magical place, it seems as if all is right with the world.  When we drove home from Redfish Lake the other day, with no satellite radio and no cell service, we had only the glorious scenery, the Salmon River and some antelope to occupy our thoughts.  We were both filled with an overwhelming feeling of peace.  But then, as we returned to “civilization” reality crashed down on us.  A basket full of deplorable candidates for President, racial strife across the country and more terrorist attacks.  I certainly don’t have the first clue as to what the cure is for our collective problems.  All I do know is that  John Denver had it right when he wrote the following lyrics:

“Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake”

We’ll be leaving Sun Valley this week and I will miss this beautiful place more than ever.  Am I escaping reality here?  Probably.  I am just sorry that the whole world cannot feel the peacefulness of the mountains.  God knows we need it.

14 comments on “PEACE IN THE MOUTAINS

  1. So very true! Even though I’ve visited Crete GR where the mountains can rise up from the sea with such beauty to elevations of perhaps 3000 ft, yet all my life I believed my heart was at it’s most peaceful place at the ocean & sea level. That all changed this summer during a 1st trip to Colorado Springs @ 6000+ ft and then up to Pikes Peak @ 14000+ ft. It takes your breath away both literally as well as figuratively! Life and one’s place in it seemed to come into its most proper perspective. It was an ever changing feast for body, mind and soul. You truly understand “America the Beautiful” and it was so very hard to leave it behind. But I truly believe you take something of it with you forever. Thanks for sharing.

    • Absolutely right, Robyn. I have an idea for a blog about what knitting has meant in my life – getting through tough times, making good friends, sparking creativity, etc. Can’t wait for you to arrive back in Arizona!

  2. There is truly a magical quality experienced in the mountains. The mountains put life in a perspective that can rarely be achieved within highly populated areas, unless one is an ascended master. Time appears to slow as it is measured in moments rather than seconds, minutes and hours. John Denver knew…

  3. You know our connection with Sun Valley and your comments and photos brought back so many memories. We camped every spring at Redfish with 3 other families at the opening of trout fishing season…watched the kids enjoy each other and their parents! Our daughter was married at Galena Lodge (hope you stopped there) and of course enjoyed “Baldy” for skiing in winter and hiking in summer. Thanks so much!

    • I DO know of your years of wonderful memories here. In fact, we drove by your old house just to go down memory lane. Galena closed early this year so didn’t go in but Redfish was open. Go figure!! Such a special place, as you well know.

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