I’ve never been very good at giving the one word answer or the ‘in a single sentence describe the..” I tend to be a little wordy. Holly will laugh when she reads the last sentence and think to herself (or say out loud), “A little?!?”. Often when I’m asked an important or provocative question, rather than take a thoughtful pause, I usually start talking to fill the space while my mind is thinking and formulating the right answer. The succinct and meaningful answer. The answer I wish I had given after a moment or two of silence while I thought it out rather than vamping on gibberish until I “got there”.
And so it was last weekend at a friends house. After a wonderful meal the six of us were enjoying after dinner banter and Jenny, our host, asked a great question. A provocative question. One of “those” questions. Jenny and her husband Greg have lived in the mountains for many years; Greg his entire life. Holly and I moved to the Golden K, thanks in a big way to Jenny, less than a year ago. Jenny was lock step with us the entire way helping us to navigate the life changing journey from Suburbia to the Sierra Nevada Foothills. And she’s still there for us and interested in “how we’re doing”.
“So what do you like most about living in the mountains?”
There it was. Jenny asked one of those questions. My brain started going where I make lists, prioritize the list, organize it into categories, rationalize the motivation for the items on the list, and then put it all into a spreadsheet for the beginning of an executional plan. Yikes – I was doing it. But this was a great question. It meant a lot to me that Jenny asked and then I could almost hear the ringside announcer saying, “Let the rambling begin….”.
I went on to describe the people, the slower pace of life, the laid back vibe, the blah blah blabadee blah blah blah.
I woke up the next morning thinking about this question and the answer was perfectly clear: solitude. That’s what I like most about living in the mountains. Not solitude as defined in the dictionary (the state of being alone) but the solitude of being in the middle of a piece of our planet that Mother Nature has shown great favor to. A habitat shared (mostly) peacefully by man, beast, and plants. The solitude of the fresh air. The solitude of the sound of the wind blown pine trees. The walks with dogs in the middle of a dirt or gravel road. The silence of night. The sunlight filtered through the pines and oaks sneaking into my bedroom at first light. The solitude of a sustained stare with a five point buck outside my kitchen patio. The solitude of waking up to a frozen world after a night of snow. The solitude of walking out on a cold morning, closing my eyes, and taking a deep breath. The solitude of sitting under the summer stars with my bride of 34 years and our two Golden Retrievers, all three whom I love desperately.
So yeah, solitude. That’s what I like most about living in the mountains. It’s solitude that fortifies my romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.
The solitude of waking up to a frozen world after a night of snow.