Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Highlights - I Have Been to the Mountaintop...

I spent the early part of the year 2009 renewing work on a writing project that has been in my spirit since about 2000.  I think the highlight of my year was a week I spent completely alone at a cabin in the woods.  It was extremely remote, reached only by a very quirky 4x4 Suburban.  The place had propane lights, range and fridge, an outhouse that I shared with a spider (often more than one) and a gas powered generator that I used to charge the batteries on my laptop.  It was by far the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and I loved being there.  It was remote, very wild and very beautiful.  I felt absolutely no fear, slept with the doors and windows wide open and LOVED it!

I spent most of my time writing, I worked on the porches mostly depending on where I could get the most natural light.  If it was raining I would move to the covered porch, it it got too bad I'd work inside but that meant either turning on the generator, using candles or lanterns.  I often played guitar out on the porch and sang in solidarity with the trees and wildlife.  I curled up on the porch at night with a blanket to consider the many vivid stars and even saw a shooting star.  I used the antique propane range to cook my meals, I had produce from the farmer's market mostly, fruit, veggies, eggs and a loaf of hearty bread, some butter and olive oil.  I worked until I'd finish a chapter then take a break and make something to eat.  It seemed that the food all tasted far better than usual.  The whole experience was heavenly.  I was awakened at 3 am one morning by a bird flying around the cabin, I opened the screen doors and let the poor little thing out, what a lovely adventure!  Since I was up anyway, I went back to work on the book for a while then took a hike up the mountain to see the sunrise from the top.

There was also a considerable storm one afternoon and I couldn't even work on the covered porch anymore and it got very dark so I took a break to watch the storm.  When the rain stopped and the sun came out I was treated to the full court press of after storm misty beauty, it's a memory I'll always treasure.  It was such an amazing time for me, the storm, dawn on the mountain top...  I felt free and alive in a way that touched me deeply.  It's hard to put into words, even now all these months later.

I came home with a rough draft of my book and a great deal of excitement at this milestone in my life.  Since then I’ve set the project on a back burner again, feeling that there are a few chapters that are yet to come, or perhaps I’m just not ready to release it.  Either way, those days of being completely alone in the wilderness left me feeling free and more in touch with my spirituality and the wilderness than ever.  I loved it so much!

I saw rainbows after that storm, a number of them in the same day, mostly little bitty snatches of one here and there since my location was very tree sheltered.  As a matter of fact, the day I drove back into civilization I kept seeing rainbows along the drive home.  And once I was home there I saw a huge rainbow there, they sure are difficult to capture in a photograph, best stored up in one's heart!  It gave me hope that better things were coming my way.

Coming home was difficult, facing my world of external demands, commitments and material overload.  As I drove back into civilization my cell phone went off and I listened to a long list of phone messages, some of which were very demanding, followed by a stack of email when I got home and noise and commotion and a big mess in my kitchen.  It was an overwhelming and I felt the bliss slipping away.  Now I know that how you come back from the wild is as important as how you get there, lesson learned.  Next time I'll be more careful about the way I come home.  I loved it, I want to go back.  Soon I hope.  Maybe I’ll go back in 2010 to finish up that project or work on another.  I'm in no rush, some projects are made for years rather than months.  All in all, I think my week alone in the wild was one of the highlights of 2009 and I am very grateful that I had that opportunity!

(Outhouse with a view!  LOL!) 

Sometimes I think we are reluctant to do what we need to do for ourselves in order to live the best version of our lives.  It's so easy to get caught up in the sensory overload of pop culture and making a living and meeting external demands when sometimes... more than anything what we really need is absolute silence, a Bible, some thoughtful introspection, a journal, a guitar and time...  Give yourself a gift in 2010, take some time away for silence, contemplation and solitude.  It may turn out to be the highlight of your year.

-Carmen Rose

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