There’s just something about the mountains. Majestic, unwavering, awe-inspiring in their sheer magnitude. Sometimes it’s just good to stand there in observance of them and allow yourself to feel small. It’s good because when you are small, staring up at those snow caped peaks, your problems are small too. Your worries, insecurities, mistakes, doubts all seem even smaller in comparison. The realization of the smallness of what consumes your mind leaves way for greater contemplation, appreciation and the pathway for a more authentic existence.
When one stands in reverence of mountains so great, it’s difficult to not see God’s fingerprints. The delicacy and intricacy one might appreciate in a piece of finely constructed pottery, one can also observe in the mountains. Staring up at the mountains and the large areas of coniferous forests, vast shadows splayed out on the areas untouched by the sun, jagged rock cliffs, one has to be sparked with at least an inkling of curiosity of where they came from.
Mountains change your perspective too. This idea of feeling small, those massive yet intricate fingerprints of creation, how changed you feel in the midst of it all, you walk away at least little bit different every time. You walk away with an invitation for a more authentic existence.
While spending time in Girdwood, Alaska, yesterday I took an evening run just before sunset. I remained mindful of each footstep, pacing myself while still being cautious for patches of ice on the trail. That is when the trees opened up and revealed a snow covered valley splayed out almost endlessly in every direction, mountains completely surrounding me. I stopped running and listened to the quiet. That’s the thing about quiet, it has its own sound. Thick, blanketing snow like that has an absorbing quality. As you stand there breathing and listening it somehow has a way to make your soul feel full.
As I stood there, I allowed the very essence of me to absorb that realization of my smallness. And being small, nothing more than a single snowflake in the bigger picture of time and eternity, I couldn’t help but decide that purpose is so important. If we are small and life is fleeting, why don’t we live more of our lives as if that is true? Instead of seeking comfort and getting caught up in routine, why don’t we mindfully live every second to fulfill the purpose that each of us individually was born with inscribed in our very being? I became more still in that valley, my breath an ever appearing and disappearing cloud against the warm glow of a setting sun against the encircling range of mountain tops.
When I started to run again, with the snow crunching under each of my feet and the blood in my veins becoming fuller with my quickening strides, I knew I was a little different. I remembered that I was small, yet significant. I remembered my life was fleeting yet this was all the more reason to live in a way that honors that realization. Because when you know something and live in a way that is consistent with that, you are authentic. And feeling authentic feels like standing at the base of an awesome mountain.