Thursday, September 17, 2015

Lessons from the Road, part Four

Topography is always beautiful. (Also, you can get used to mountains.)

Sometime between Oklahoma and Albuquerque, the landscape began to look like someplace else. Somewhere distinctly not the Midwest. Hills rolled more, foliage became more scrubby, and we were decidedly in the West.

The further west we drove, the taller the hills became. And then the hills stopped being hills at all and presented themselves as mountains. There was one point where I pointed into the distance and said to Alex, "That shadow waaaaaaay up there? It's gonna be a mountain, eventually." And before too long (the speed limit out there is something akin to 70 mph) sure enough ... mountain.

The landscape kept changing as we progressed toward Phoenix, a little less green, a little higher elevation. The sky seemed a little bluer and the air was warm.
I love this picture; it just feels like the American West to me.

By the time we reached our destination - at the foot of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix - seeing mountains ceased to be "new." It's not like flying in, when the scenery is all of a sudden different. No, this gradual change caused it all to become expected. Mountains, and the beauty therein, had become the norm. Over the course of just a few days, my awe of the horizon had begun to diminish.

And isn't that just the way? We take for granted the things that are always there, even if they are vast and beautiful. And when they're gone, we miss them. It would be better to understand how much we'll miss them while they're here, and treasure them - be they mountains, or people, or heck, even your favorite band - while you're together.

Don't get used to the mountains, or whatever it is in nature that is beautiful about where you live. (I promise you, there's something; maybe several somethings.) Love it, as often as you can. But more importantly, hold close the people who are part of your landscape. Because that landscape can change in the blink of an eye.

Were are not mountains, waiting patiently in the distance for you to come upon us and realize our grandeur. We are perfectly flawed individuals worthy of great and glorious love.

One of the greatest parts of sharing this journey with Alex was that while we drove, we had the opportunity to really talk. Big conversations and little topics flowed between us as easy as air, and over the course of 1,700 miles or so, it became clear that he is among my mountains.

Figure out who your mountains are, and love them well. Tell them. Show them. Listen to them. There is great potential when you're able to do that.

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