Why the mountains

I swear the air smells funny. It really does. People say the air up there smells crisp, fresh and clean, but I get something a bit different. When I first took a whiff of mountain air it reminded me of a strange and distant memory—the smell of the sheep eyeball we watched get dissected in 1st grade. I’m serious, I can see myself and 4 other classmates sitting around a small round table in the project area, sitting in tiny multicolored chairs, watching in horror and amazement as Mrs. Wile took apart a single eyeball in a clear Tupperware as it sat in a water-like liquid. That memory sits on the edge of thought as I breath in the cold air of the mountains. And, for some reason, it’s still a pleasant thing—the scent of the mountains. Very strange, I know. The unexpected placement of that memory continues to boggle me.

The mountains do strange things to the mind, and honestly we all could use some mountain time. Mountains, they let your mind wander. They remind you of lives you once lived, the feelings you once felt. All in such an unexpected way. But they don’t punish you like doubt or regret does, they just sit there, massive and magnificent in front of you. And you don’t expect anything else from them except that. There’s such a peace in it.

Sometimes you need something strong, something being all that it can and all that it ever needs to be. Because, sometimes you feel like string raveling undone off the spool onto the floor. You feel like the roadrunner losing the ground you’re standing on waiting for that plunge that you all too well expect and know. Having something like a mountain in front of you, it does something. It stays strong for you.

In elementary school, I was one of those kids who would sit on top of the monkey bars during recess. We were like trapeze acrobats swinging down off of them. I was pretty good at it too, but one time I overextended my swing and found myself landing on my back onto the wood chips. I remember laying there gasping for air that wasn’t there, terrified at this dying-like feeling, but then I found my gaze up to the sky. It was bright blue with bright white fluffy clouds, and it was then that I found my breath. This was the first memory I have of getting the breath knocked out of me, and when shit hits the fan I can feel those wood chips digging into my back with that same burning in my chest. I discovered it then, I and still know it now, I need something like mountains. Because when I stand in front of something so huge, so entirely large, I don’t have to think about inhaling. It comes easy. I get to feel small. The aching of my longings, the worries of my discontent, the pain from disappointment, it all somehow gets blown away by the air up in the mountains, and I’m able to breath.

The weird air up there, the unexpected scent of it, there’s something funny about it, I swear.

 

Boom goes the dynamite

So there I am, at the gym working out on the arc trainer— you know, the elliptical looking machine that makes you look like you’re jumping over hot coals or something. I keep my phone in front of me laying horizontal on the ledge of the face of the machine. I go to skip a song on my Pandora station, cocking my head to read the name of the next song, when my hand gets caught up in my headphone cord which then sends my phone flying off the machine. Hitting the foot swingers of my machine on its way down, my newly leased iPhone bounces off not only the machine that’s to my left, but then off a third arc trainer before it finally hits the ground leaving booming echoes of this extraordinary fall. My headphones, dangling in front of me, still plugged into my ears. So harshly was my music torn from me and left me with the deafening loud hum of the ellipticals in front of me and some top-40 pop song overhead on the main speakers.

Muttering a “fuck, “which very probably was a bit above a mutter, as I angrily ripped out my earbuds and slowed down my pace to stop the machine so I could retrieve my phone two machines over. Thankfully there was nobody in the immediate area of fire. Apprehensively walking toward it, I could see it was facing down hiding any shame it now may have possessed. Bending over and under the machine to snatch it up, I turned it over to realize my fear was real. I had managed to crack yet another screen—another glass spiderweb to look through.

Okay, so it wasn’t that bad of a crack, and it was only the screen protector that cracked, but STILL, this was the piss of the day that broke my seal.

To get some background, I am no stranger to cracks in my life. For some reason I attract them. Just one week earlier I turned in my old phone that had been severely cracked for over a year, both screen and protecter. I was just now getting used to the luxury of having a smooth, bright, crackless, and happy full iPhone screen. I currently have a crack in my car windshield that over 3 years has been annoyingly extending right into my sightline. I graduated college with a laptop that survived falling off my couch onto a wood floor—surviving meaning it worked but a ginormous crack spread over it. I was an advertising design major, and every graphic design I turned in was created through a glass spiderweb.

So, as you can see, I am FED UP with having cracks in my life, in my sight, and under my fingertips.

But, this whole crack thing got me thinking.

Cracks happen.

And yeah, they become something we always have to look past, an annoyance that we deal with. But, eventually you don’t notice them anymore. You learn to live with the cracks. Hell, maybe the cracks made me a better designer, you know, gave me a keener eye…Ha. Ha.

It just goes to show that events that happen to us may seem like a big deal initially. It might even feel like the end of the world. But, as proof of you living, life goes on. The cracks of life are still there, but your human strength to focus on the more important things, like the road in front of you, give you the edge you need to get through.