Posted by: highmountainmuse | October 29, 2009

Deep in the woods

brightness on the hilltops while peeking through the trees

Brightness on the hilltops while peeking through the trees

Nine degrees below zero, and only an inch of snow.  The frost starts to form within the earth. It begins, becomes a part of the surface, nearly permanent and almost rock hard. Deeper and deeper it will inch its way each morning.  The paling sunlight will not be enough to hold back the cold. Five feet under the frost will be before winter begins to fade.

It has only just begun.

The leaves have been stripped.  There is nothing left to hide. Nothing left to hold back. And so I too breathe out and a fury of bitter wind whips and whirls up the desolate hillside as the long, cold winter gains hold of the mountain.

Now I exhale.

You see I seek solace in the high country, in the mountains which free my soul. How I need the river to wash away my tears, and the breeze through the trees to help me forget.  But still, my burden remains.

You say my life is idyllic.  I laugh and remind you I am not the view before me. My life is not endless summer or a holiday romp. I remind you this is not heaven but earth, though I look for it every day, and find bits and pieces in the silver flash and ripple of the brookie hiding beneath a smooth river rock or a grove of Blue Spruce alive with the laughter of the chickadees. It is simple, but enough to carry me through. But not enough to make the rest go away, to fix the problems and pay the bills, to give us comfort when things can get pretty uncomfortable.

I remind you this is not my vacation but my life.  I do not come here to get away from it all and unwind.  I remain here to make it all work.  And try as I may, it does not all work, always work.  I need to decide what matters most.

You come here and leave your worries behind.  Mine remain with me.  Here they are. As plain as the snow dusted trees and the air almost too cold to breath. You wonder how life could be anything but perfect with such a lovely view before me.  I remind you of financial burdens.  Of endless hours trying to make a business succeed, a family grow, a home safe and warm. Of in-laws too close and good neighbors too far. The losing battle of trying to make things live and grow and prosper.

There are times I too feel a beautiful view should be enough. I wish it was. You laugh, and remind me it not, no more so than a relationship based solely on a pretty face.  How deep does that go? How long does that last?

You remind me that happiness – or is it goodness, or peace, or whatever we humans inherently seek and desire – does not come from the land.  It comes from within. Easier perhaps in a pretty place, with a pretty face, on a warm and gentle day.

The answers are found only as deep as what we put into the land. It is hard to dig in frozen ground. But we try. Somehow we try to balance the load. 

My burden is heavy now, yours will be tomorrow.

Today I will seek consolation in the deepness of the woods. You know I will go there to looking for it, to somehow soften my troubles and fears, to thaw a part of this freezing land.  My woods are no different than yours.



  1. It would be wonderful to be some place with out worrys or burdens .If you find some place loke that let me know .Right now i could use it .More every day .You try and learn to live with what life deals you and hope you can .You have my prayers and good thoughts .If can help E Mail me
    Your Friend Don

  2. How very true are your words. I know that sense of “fighting the long defeat” (as Tolkien put it) in the deep mountains. For a view can be very beautiful, but still one cannot eat it, not make very much from showing it to people. It is a fragile existence, but enriching, character building. It has made you special, and you shall stay tougher yet more perceptive, more determined yet more humane now for all your days on Earth.

  3. Dear Gin,
    I had a wonderful book cross my path… How to Hug a Porcupine…Dealing with Toxic and Difficult to Love Personalities… This has been a great help in my life; just found it a few weeks ago…wish I could have found it years ago! It’s by Dr. John Lewis Lund. Out of the end epilogue he said…The ultimate objective is for each of us to become our healthiest and best selves. This means that we cannot allow others to take us down. We live in a world of confused human beings. Unhealthy people surround us at times. We are left with making the best out of a difficult circumstance or relationship. His indian Grandmother left him with a Blessing “May you always walk with love in your heart.” I believe you got that part down pretty good !!!;o) and ther’s tons of wonderful info. I think you’ll really enjoy :o)))

  4. Gin, This is so profound, beautiful and painful all at once…a lot like life I suppose. You help us all remember that no matter where we are we all deal with the same types of problems only in different ways.

    “I laugh and remind you I am not the view before me.” That says it all.

    My hope for you this day is that you live in the moment and enjoy today regardless. This is a very special day because it’s the day God placed you here for a purpose so many years ago…or, shall I say, not so many years ago!


    Love and Hugs,

    Karen and the boys

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