Thoughts on Elevation

I hike frequently, when I feel up to it, because it feels good in my body and soul, and the air feels different… but mostly because I need to change my perspective. So today, I was up on top of a hill in Pattee Canyon, looking over Missoula, realizing how big everything seems when I’m down in the valley. All of the things that are difficult, the societal and socio-economic crises, how much space, energy and time they take up. And realizing that, in a way, I hike and I change my elevation, I change my altitude so that I can get a different perspective. At first I thought maybe I’m escaping, but it’s not an escape. It’s a change of perspective so that as I descend down, into the valley, back down towards home, I take with me the widened perspective, the ability to see all of the fall colors instead of just seeing the trees that are right around me. The perspective where everything is more clear, and the town is so much smaller than the mountains, and the mountains are so much smaller than the skies and the clouds. That perspective. I take it down with me so that when I close my eyes, I can see it, smell it and taste it and hear nothing but the wind.