“We’re in the golden hills!” said one of my walking companions, and indeed we were. Our hike was a twelve mile out-and-back to a place in the San Rafael Wilderness known as Hell’s Half Acre, a boulder-studded field with views of mountains and sea in the hazy distance, and none of us could understand why such a beautiful spot has a name so foreboding. That golden grass rippled in the breeze, set off by the surprisingly dark green tones of chaparral, and we each found a perch on a rock from which to enjoy our lunch. We live surrounded by beauty. I am humbled and dazzled by it daily.
I needed this. As I have said many times, walking outdoors is my therapy. I do have a sense lately that we are under siege, but when you don’t know how to fight, it’s not a bad idea to step back, regroup, fortify oneself for the long haul. I wanted to feel my legs and lungs working, behold the wonder, and clear my head. And I didn’t exactly clear my head, but I did try to sort out my thoughts. When I got home, I decided to make a list of the issues that are worrying and troubling me right now, not the personal ones but the political and social ones, although all of it is ultimately personal.
Tomorrow I have a long train ride, and maybe I’ll use the time to type out my list and share it here. Rather than crouching in the shadow of the great amorphous thing, I want to try to break it into its component pieces and look straight at each concern.
But for the moment, I’ve reclaimed my soul, and I have those mountains to thank.