Thursday, October 20, 2016


It's like the moments just before 11:11 flashes on the digital clock: how 11:10 seems to outlast all of the other minutes, stretching so as to not fall into the nothing between the time. The stretch that comes before change can seems long, exasperatingly slow, but the comforting part is that the fall never happens. The nothing never rapidly approaches your face. For as long as humanity has been on this earth, 11:11 has arrived and, sometimes with a sideways glance, so the new reality has appeared, still hazy around the edges from transformation.

I'm in a stretch right now. Maybe my life is one terraced stretch after the other, overlapping like zebras transcending the golden grasses. In an effort to make it over the threshold, I'm trying to give myself permission to linger on the small things. This is a cliche which sounds straightforward and effortless, but I've learned it's much harder than I would have initially thought when dealing with such heavy weights as 24/7 news cycles and macroeconomics midterms.

Last weekend, I drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon to Brighton Ski Resort, its chairlift hanging as a spindly relic against the gold-and-mocha hills. A few miles brought me to Lake Catherine. I am blessed, blessed, blessed beyond measure to have lived where I have, and to be familiar with the immensity of the outdoors. Although I can't help but score the Wasatch mountains roughly a 4 out of 10 overall, this lake gave me something I needed. There is NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING like the silence of the backcountry. It's not a silence coming from lack-of-noise. Silence in a class or a library or a car is empty, can easily be broken by some words, improved upon. But the silence in these natural places is already full; it's its own entity that you don't want to tear a hole in.

It's that vast peace and profundity that I need to be better at letting fill my humdrum everyday life when I'm back to the places I frequent daily. I have a feeling that when I do that, my goal of fully appreciating oft-overlooked things (to let the things that would ordinarily bore me suddenly thrill me, if you will-- bonus points to me for staying on brand) will be closer. Things like the two potted plants that have now sat on my various windowsills for more than a year; the way that the crisp, cold air fills my lungs, tangible and rejuvenating; the unique shade of lavender that softly colors the mountains for no more than 10 minutes every evening; the fact that even though there's no temporal reason for it, I'm given the capacity for a perfect hope in what I pray for.

I'm learning that at least for me, peace is not something that alights gently on a fingertip as the screen fades to vignette. It's a fight. My heart aches for the things which I lack and the things I wish I could share; the bruises are ginger to the touch. It requires a concentrated effort, a winding of the clock, to maintain steady breathing and a soft brow. But I'm progressing.

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