“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”
― Anne Frank
It’s so cold. It’s unbelievable. Almost. And we are not just suffering it, we are experiencing it. It makes me reflect on the coldest moments of my life: standing on ice in Olympic Stadium while rehearsing for Opening Ceremonies; jumping into a hole in the ice on Utah Lake in nothing but a sports bra and yoga pants; running through the freezing water at the end of my first Moab 1/2 Trail Marathon…. I have been cold. And until last year I really minded it. I despised it. But then I created a mantra for myself: “Be comfortable with discomfort.” So now I embrace the cold. I take a cold shower before I get into the pool. Why? Because.
Okay- on to today. I had business in Moab- the Trail Mix meeting and stuff. So of course I had to get in a little Moab trail action. I couldn’t decide what though, and since I’m still in hike-only mode for another 10-ish days I opted for some hike-only. Negro Bill is usually my first-choice, but I figured, HECK! Let’s hit up Arches.
You have to understand that I have this thing with Arches. I’ve hiked nearly every trail in the park. Just a couple of back-country ones have eluded me. So I know it well. I have appreciated it at many times in my life, with various groups. Some of the coolest life experiences, some of my best memories, have had this setting. Like watching the sunrise on New Years day light up Turret Arch through North Window. Like hiking (special-permit required) through the Fiery Furnace the day after my first Jr. Prom. Taking my kids to play in the sand under Sand Dune Arch, and packing Connor back in my jacket. Hiking with Dennis through the snow and fog over the fins to Double-O arch Easter Weekend….
But here’s what I noticed today. When you live among a certain kind of beauty you grow numb to it. Now I’m not saying you don’t appreciate it when you live in a beautiful place, but it does eventually become commonplace. That’s the problem with thinking something like, “Wow. Hawaii is sooooo beautiful! I could LIVE here.” Well, if you LIVE there and see those beaches every day, will they still be special?
Last week when I was in Utah the Wasatch Mountains took my breath away. The way the sun rose on the snow-clothed Oquirrh mountains was stunning. I was in awe. It smote my heart, this beauty. But I hadn’t felt that way in years- not while living in the shadow of those same mountains. I became….numb.
So today, when I got to Arches, the sun was slopped in the sky and cutting a steep angle through the atmosphere. It was immensely picturesque. I couldn’t help but re-playing the Turret Arch through North Window experience. This was probably incredibly stupid since to get to that view you have to rock-scramble on good days. Today everything that wasn’t blanketed in snow was plastered with ice. Bad wrist notwithstanding, I made the attempt and was rewarded.
And again, the beauty of this place smote me- like a wet fish across the face (RED HERRING! YOU GET NOTHING!!!). Okay, maybe it was more pleasant than that. But I got thinking, I have see this place, these rock formations, this view of the La Sal Mountains in so many ways and yet I never seem to get numb to it. It still affects me as strongly as ever it did.
So what other things do we never get numb to? Thinking of just visual here. I mean, think about it, our bodies are made to adapt. I see things every day that are still absolutely beautiful to me: my children for one. My bed. (Yes, it is that beautiful, ha ha ha). And still the awesome beauty of the Grand Valley (the Monument…the Mesa….the River….the Bookcliffs….)
Or maybe we just allow ourselves to get numb by not taking time to appreciate all the beauty around us. My friend, Sarah, is a good example to me of someone who never tires of recognizing the beauties in life. (If you want to meet Sarah, schedule a bike tour). And I am encouraged to continue in the same strain: to notice and appreciate the beauty that surrounds me every day.
After all, it’s cold enough for the rest of me to go numb.
I don’t need my sensibility to join in the trend.
Okay, now that I’ve hyped it up- here are the pictures: