Some of my happiest moments were when I lived alone in a 1970s house built into the mountainside of a town whose history first included Ute Indians and then settlers from New York City, Boston and England who fashioned the town into a place of health and restoration for the elite among them with families suffering from tuberculosis. I was so happy with my little place with its winding stone stairway, covered porch and the ability to decorate on my own terms, with my cats and a new love in my life who occasioned to stop by. Every crevice of the covered porch covered by twisted branches that looked like snakes or birds, feathers and beautiful rocks from every geologic time period that we could find. Or maybe we just liked the sparkle of the pyrite, quartz and fool's gold?
Along with the constant companion of the mountains my life has always held another element that caused its own shadow over my life: pain. It would take leaving my little place in the mountain time and moving deep into the heart of the mountains for me to experience some of the worst pain of my life: Interstitial Cystitis. Instead of a place of beauty and solitude I felt betrayed by mountains as if the sentries formed from platelets pushed from the core of the earth was somehow responsible for the sheer pain inside the core of my being. As the IC began to infiltrate and take away food, wine, love and outdoor activity I withdrew into myself and resented the loss of my former self.
It was when I began to heal my body in spirit, body and mind that I began to feel the urge to hike and enjoy being outside once again that the mountains began to heal me further. The crisp mountain air filled with the scent of heated pine needles, sage and lichen soothed my soul when nothing else could. The crunch of the gravel beneath my hiking shoes became the sound of my liberty from the pain. I am too small to move the mountains but the mountains will always have the ability to move me.