Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Ever Changing Landscape

I always notice scenery, but on my drive up to Tahoe yesterday, what struck me most was not only how definitively the landscape changed, but how my mood shifted drastically along with it. Climbing slowly out of the woodland oak countryside where I live, into dense forest, as I drove on, that changing into my favorite Sierra topography: trees spread out more, Manzanitas crawling over huge and beautiful rock formations, small, high-altitude lakes and creeks, stunning mountain peaks and vistas, and this time of year, so many beautiful wildflowers, and with the butterflies to go along with them.

I’ve been told that because of all the air in my natal astrology chart, that the ideal place for me to live, the place where my energy would be recharged the best, where I would feel the most vibrant, would be high up in the mountains, where the air is thinner, fresher, cleaner. And it’s true that I always notice something shift as I make my way up a mountain, and yesterday was no exception. About 5,000 ft. elevation, I turned off the air conditioning, opened the windows, finally was able to pass all the slow “Sundays Drivers” that were constantly in my way, and literally flew up the mountain. It felt so good, after the trapped feeling I’ve been living with, my nervous system feeling the sweet relief of letting loose and moving. I even cranked up the music, and actually sang along a bit…

Well there’s tears and there’s fears
and there’s losses and crosses to bear
And sometimes the best we can do
is just to whisper a prayer
And press on because…
There’s so much to live for,
so much to learn

It’s a beautiful world
It’s a beautiful world…

It’s been years since I crossed the Sierras on Highway 4, and I didn’t remember how narrow the road becomes, how remote, how isolated it is. And, how beautiful. I slowed (well no choice, with all the hairpin and “s” curves…), and took the road more deliberately, enjoying the views, the smells, the cloudless deep blue sky, the snow dotted mountains, the constant chatter of insects. A few miles after I crested Ebbett’s Pass, the road headed steeply down the east side of the range, the land changing yet again, a little more barren, with less trees, more high mountain sage—definitely not my favorite—and as it shifted, so did my mood. Suddenly all I could think of was that the last time, the only time I’d taken that road was years ago with my husband. That led to remembering all the dreams we had shared about life after he retired: moving away to some beautiful place, traveling, enjoying a new chapter of life together.

It’s not like they ended suddenly, the dreams. Just like the landscape on my drive, they shifted slowly and subtly, unraveling almost invisibly as we lived out our days. On the drive, it broke my heart all over again, and as I traveled along the east side of the mountains, then turned west toward Tahoe, into Hope Valley, and past the pretty little resort where we had once spent a really nice weekend, the tears began; when I stopped for road work, I put my face in my hands, and let it all loose.

Just so darned much to regret, miss, adjust to, live through.

Until tomorrow...

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