You know the saying, “she can’t see the forest for the trees”? It is a derogatory phrase…like when someone is said to “miss the big picture” or “bogs down in details”.
I’ve had forests and trees on my mind a lot in the past few months…feeling something like guilt or shame or frustration for the hours wasted on doing the “little” things. I wonder some times if I’ve lost the trail.
But on this cool, rainy, September early morning, I woke up with some satisfying clarity on the positive side of that saying.
Life is a whole forest. It is also just one tree. Each tree. Each day. I don’t know how big the forest is, or when I will walk out of it. So, I’m going to enjoy my walk through the trees, appreciating the sun and the shade, the rain and the wind, the sounds and the silence, and give my attention to one tree at a time.
A funny thing seems to happen when I consider that one tree long enough…I perceive the pattern around it. And I find comfort in that.
Three quiet October days in Telluride. The place holds a special place in my heart.
I first visited Telluride on a media trip in 1999, just a couple of weeks after my Grandmother passed away. I was tired. My heart hurt from crying. And I ached to see her again, to talk to her some more…just a little more. While the rest of the group skied, I spent time in solitude…staring at the mountains. And in those moments, I found a peace that comforts me to this day.
So, when I realized that I’d be within a 6 hour drive of Telluride just a few days before my birthday, I decided to return.
The “6 hour drive” from Santa Fe turned into an 8 hour drive because I stopped so many times to admire the wide open spaces and the long winding roads through the pueblos and reservations of New Mexico .
I arrived in Mountain Village just before dark, threw my stuff in the room, and took the first of about a dozen gondola rides up and over the mountain into beautiful little Telluride.
I would spend only 3 nights there–waiting for the sun to rise and set on the mountain top, soaking up the sun on the streets of Telluride or my sweet little balcony, walking the side streets and trails with my camera, looking for the even numbered magpies, sketching and writing in the coffee shops, and savoring a little time in the spa. Good days.
On my birthday, I was on the first gondola to the mountain top. I walked across the ridge waiting for the sunrise, my boots crunching the frosted grass. Three elk stopped about 50 feet in front of me. I could see their breath clouds. After a silent few minutes of mutual acknowledgement, they returned to grazing and I to walking. I heard their antlers tapping together a few minutes later and turned to see two of them playing like puppies on the mountain side. Just after sunrise, I called my mother and father from the mountain top. I talked to several friends that day, had a massage, enjoyed some home-made ice cream and had a perfect little day. And as I went back over the mountain the final time that evening in the quiet dark of my own gondola, I whispered a few things to my precious grandmother.
I drove out of Telluride in the still pitch black morning…at one point a family of deer ran on the windy road alongside my car. Ah, Telluride…I’ll be back!