During a bad fire year a few summers ago, the Forest Service closed all of the Forest Service lands in western Montana. Totally. No access, even for hiking. I was dumbfounded. It had never occurred to me that they would do that. The city of Helena even closed Mt. Helena. My refuge, my church, my place of renewal, was suddenly off-limits. It really brought home to me how much I depend on those open spaces.
I just returned from a tough two weeks coping with family issues in Massachusetts, and I sorely missed the solace of the open spaces of the west. New England is lovely – historic and green and charming – but the small patches of conservation land in the suburbs of Boston just don’t renew my spirit the way the open spaces of Montana do.
So, when the stress was getting to be too much, I just shut my eyes and went to the Centennial Valley:
So true, “my church”. Your post really speaks to me. Getting outside is the only way I gather renewal and strength. I can tell when I haven’t been out there for a while. I feel edgy and agitated. Living outdoors makes my whole body and spirit sigh with relief. Thank you so much for sharing this post!
Thanks…I thought you’d probably feel the same!
I love the wide-open west. I probably take it for granted since I’ve lived here all my life and haven’t really gone to visit big eastern cities (because I don’t want to feel closed in). Your Centennial Valley looks heavenly. That had to be a good memory when you were back east.
I don’t think you do take it for granted – I can tell that from your blog! (Or, as my students used to write “take it for granite”.)
Ah, I’d love to take it for ‘granite’ and go visit Yosemite again.
Loved your video. Thanks for the visual reminder of why I love the West so much. I completely agree that these open spaces are “my refuge, my church, my place of renewal.” I may only get to visit once a year, but at least I have that.
And the place that really speak to us actually exist within us, too, don’t they? Although it’s good to have the chance to be there in real time!
I know exactly what you mean!
I’m not at all surprised!
I can completely relate to your post, though I have to store up my memories during my trips home to last me through the year. I am so thankful those places exist that bring instant peace.