Today, on Earth Day, I felt it fitting to ruminate on how my love affair with the mountains began. When I turned thirty, I went on a solo ten-day trip to Portland, Or. I had so many rich experiences that I carry with me to this day from that trip. I made friends with strangers. A lot of them. I ended up in two house parties and a karoke party. I hiked twelve miles on Eagle Creek Trail with someone I just met to celebrate my big 30 with wine and a Cliff Bar as we sat on a massive rock overlooking a rushing creek. There were many waterfalls along the way, but the last one of the day was the greatest one - Tunnel Falls. There was a tunnel behind it and I was deathly afraid not to slip, but reaching out my hand to touch a giant waterfall was pure magic. It was one of the best birthdays of my life.
I was a city girl through and through and prior to this 12 miler in Portland, I have never been in the woods or hiked a mountain. But I was forever changed that day. There was so much serenity and beauty only Mother Nature can provide.
I have not looked back since and if given the choice today between New York City and the wilderness, I'll take the wilderness any day.
Happy Mother's Day, Mother Earth!
July 22, 2010
In a few minutes, I celebrate my exodus out of the best year of my life thus far. I often hear of people talk about “prime” of their life. I am convinced I'm in mine. While it’s true that in so many aspects, the beginning of that year and practically my entire year at 29 was a year of immense heartbreak, profound disorientation, and utter numbness, a year later, I find myself in the complete opposite end of the spectrum. My life the past year resembled that of the legend they tell of the phoenix, it seems like sometimes. And for this, I pray for humility. And also for this too, I celebrate.
For the big 3-0, I went on a ten-day solo vacation in Portland, a place close to my heart. It ws something I had been dying to do for a long time. I threw the rules out the window and with my fearlessness and intuition packed in my carry-on, I celebrated life the way I wanted to. It was an amazing journey back to me. On the actual day of my birthday, I went on a 12-mile, day-long hike at one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. At the climax of the hike, the blanket was laid out, the beautiful Reisling uncorked, and Cliff Bars unwrapped. The quiet magnanimity of the place embraces you like you've never been embraced before. It was quite the experience.
Out there, there was nothing but your God and you. Everything was a glimpse of the perfection that can only be mastered by a presence so divine, supreme, yet real and tangible. There was waterfall after waterfall after waterfall, the penultimate of which was Tunnel Falls, the massive beauty that you were given the privilege to touch. It was the perfect way to celebrate 30 monumental years. Despite the fact that I have never hiked before being the classic urbanite that I am, the entire eight or so hours felt nothing but a walk in the park, a hike to the clouds. It's here that you realize that sometimes when you let go of silly, unfounded rules, you are rewarded with astounding moments you will remember the rest of your life.
Moments such as these:
And that was literally just the beginning of 30. Can you imagine what the rest of the year was like??? Now, the bags are packed for the trip to welcome 31!
Goodbye, Thirty. You were nothing but amazing. I think of you and I get soft, mushy, and tender inside.
Hello, Thirty-One. I have this sneaking suspicion that you and I will get along very well... Disarmingly well...