Monday, September 9, 2013

me & the mountains

Listening To: Skinny Love by Bon Iver
Line Love: "Seven and a half million hearts were beating in close proximity in this heaving old city, and many, after all, would be aching far worse than his. Walking wearily past closed shops, while the heavens turned indigo above him, Strike found solace in vastness and anonymity." - from The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

I found a note that I typed into my phone while I was roadtripping recently, just some freeform happy-writing. I was so relaxed that week, which partially had to do with the beautiful scenery. But I think it also had to do with how intentional I was about disconnecting. I had no computer. I never connected to twitter, or Pinterest. I barely had enough phone service to turn on web/email stuff for more than an hour or two. It was bliss, basically. I should disconnect more often when I'm here in the real world, too. Too much interweb breaks my focus all to bits. And it mangles my creativity. I can't have roadtrips through the mountains every week, but I could definitely benefit from cutting that out occasionally. (Wouldn't it be great if you could teleport to pretty places, and totally disconnect while you're there, whenever your heart feels too heavy?) This is what I wrote: 

The thing I love most about driving here is how steady it all is. How the world looks so flat until I get to the rocky edges. 

This place overwhelms me slowly. Steadily. My eyes take in first. But then my heart takes it in, too. I think about how I never want to leave and then I realize I never will. It's not like I could, if I wanted to. Because now this place is in me. 
It's just me and the mountains. 
The mountains and their high, dragon-back spines. 
The mountains, so old the cloud shadows get stuck in their wrinkles. 
This is the wild west but when I stand in the middle of it, all I hear is sweet silence. At first. Then comes the whispering wind and the tenor-cry of a hawk. And then the restless thump of my heart, wild and reckless.
It's easy to see why people come here to heal, to explore, to create things, to start out. To start over. Sometimes you need to know you can climb this high. You need to know what it feels like to stand on the edge of the world and shout your dreams over the horizon. Or just whisper them, even. It's not the same as tossing pennies into wishing wells, when you do that. It feels a lot more like taking some ground in your life. 
This place is so pretty I don't want to close my eyes but I do. I blink, and the mountains are still there - the same but different. Look all you want. There's more here than you'll ever have time to see, they seem to say. But not in a taunting way. They're a comforting presence, always welcoming me, always pulling me further in until I disappear and become part of them. Until they become part of me. Dust unto dust. 
I want to set my heart to the rhythm of this place. I want to take it with me when I go. 
If you could teleport (...can you?! ;) and go anywhere you wanted this weekend, where would you go? 


  1. I would go to New York. Lately I've been dreaming about the tall skylines and busy city life of New York City.

    1. I love skylines, too! :) And something about the hum of a city is so intoxicating for me. I thrive on the energy. I would love to go to NYC again and spend some more time there. Maybe visit some museums. And see Matilda on Broadway. :) Have you been to NYC before?

  2. I would go to England. That's my number one travel/teleport dream. :) I do love the mountains, too, though. There's a stretch of parkway and small towns in the Blue Ridge Mountains that we visit for the day every fall...I've been going there since I was a toddler and I love that place.

    P.S. How is The Cuckoo's Calling? I want to check it out sometime, but I'm very wary after The Casual Vacancy. That was probably one of my least favorite books ever, and I still regret spending $22 to preorder it.


    1. You will go to England someday. And you will love it just as much as you think you will. England, like Prince Edward Island, does not disappoint. What stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway do you drive? I want do that this fall. I've been on just a piece of it in North Carolina and it was magical. I'm obsessed with cute small towns.

      You will like Cuckoo's Calling way more than The Casual Vacancy, I bet. Are you a fan of Sherlock? And Whodunnit-type mysteries? Admittedly, mystery is not my favorite genre. But I think if you like that vibe, you will really get into this book. The writing is lovely, and I really like the characters.

    2. We always go to the section around mile markers 160-170. Lovers Leap has one of the most amazing views. We used to have a picnic at Rocky Knob every year, and we still usually stop by there. And we have to go to Mabry Mill, though it never changes. Maybe that's why I like it so much. :) We have pictures taken in front of the mill for just about every year of my life. There's a tiny community around there called Meadows of Dan that has a yarn shop (always of interest to me) and Nancy's Fudge (even more of interest to me :). Someday I'd love to drive the whole Blue Ridge Parkway...I've heard that you should allow about 3 days, to enjoy the stops and because of the 45 MPH speed limit. :) It would make a nice weekend trip, I think.

      Yes, I'm obsessed with the show Sherlock, and I like the original stories and the 80s adaptations. I do love mysteries and detective stories (especially Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie style), so it sounds like something I'd like! :) I'll have to check it out.

    3. P.S. I forgot to mention that I love your new blog look! :)

  3. Mmmm.. Thank you for sharing your beautiful prose. And your pictures. They make my heart ache so sweetly.

    I would go west. Across Texas and New Mexico and up into Colorado, eventually winding my way to California. I'm dying to chase some sunsets to beautiful places. I told my sister this yesterday (she's my roadtrip companion) and suggested we start creating our "GO WEST!" playlist now.

    What would be essential on your wild west playlist?

    1. I love going West, too! This was my second trip to Colorado, and I fall more in love with it every time I go. The trip you describe sounds perfect. (I would love to adventure around the Big Sur area of California!) And YES you need a playlist. You've got to keep me updated on what you guys add, because I'm always adding to mine. These were some of our favorites from this trip:

      Pancho & Lefty - Jason Isbell
      Don't Know How - Honey Honey
      Wild Horses - The Flying Burrito Brothers
      Old Pine - Ben Howard
      Brand New Key - Theo Nguyen
      Trying so Hard Not to Know - Nathaniel Ratcliff & The Nightsweats
      More Time - needtobreathe
      Glorify - Ivan & Alos
      I love you, but goodbye - Longhorn Slim
      Against the Wind - Bob Seger
      If I needed You - Mumford & Sons
      Out of the Woods - Nickel Creek
      Classy Girls - The Lumineers
      You Never Need Nobody - Lone Mellow
      Traveling Alone - Jason Isbell
      Stars - Grace Potter

      And lots of Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, and the whole Jason Isbell album "Southeastern". And I played lots of country music from the 80's, too. I love doing that on road trips :)

  4. Also - that song? Makes me want to weep with longing to be on the road.

    1. You and me both. That's a cover of a Townes V. Zandt song. I think the guy covering the song is in the band Fleet Foxes? His voice fits the song so, so beautifully. The lyrics make my heart ache in the best way.

  5. Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! Heather.vonstjames(at) Thanks!!

  6. Just finished Cuckoo's Calling last night! Thoroughly enjoyed it and didn't see the ending coming- even though it was one of my initial guesses! Looking forward to more Strike mysteries.

    I already have a getaway planned this weekend to a friend's lake house. It is the most peaceful, refreshing place I've ever been to. I can't wait!

    1. I love the writing in the book, and I like the story, but just in general ... I'm not a fan of whodunnits. I don't know why. I'm not sure if I'll finish it, but it's not because it's not great. Does that make sense? If I don't push through, I'll definitely read it again. I have a feeling there's a tipping point when I'll get obsessed with the story. I'm just not there quite yet.

      I'm jealous of your weekend retreat and I've never even seen it. I hope you have the best time! :)

  7. your new blog design is gorgeous! love the new header - SO cute :)

  8. Thank you so much, Courtney!! :) It's Allyson Wakeman's doing. She's just too darn fabulous for her own good.