I have been living on the road for nearly three months now. I left my home state of Kentucky back in June. Since then I have been through Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, East Texas, New Mexico, back to Texas, and then to Colorado. I have been in a small Colorado town (Creede; pop. 300) for one month now, and my time here has been transformational.
The particular area of the Rocky Mountains that I have inhabited for the past few weeks is called the San Juan Range, and life here is different than anywhere I have lived. I have been in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, and I have been in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, but the Rocky Mountains are different. They’re much bigger, yes, but there’s more to it than that. Today, my time here comes to and end, for now, and I am back on the road. New Mexico, Abilene, and then on into West Texas. After that? Stay tuned because I have no idea what’s coming next. 🙂
Living in Creede for a month has taught me a few lessons that I will take with me when I leave.
Life Can Be Lived Slower
It could be because it’s Creede and there is such a small population, but life here is slow. Not slow as in boring, but as in there’s no one caught up in the rat race where everyone is living at break-neck speed. I have not seen car wrecks, people cutting other people off in traffic, customers yelling at an employees in stores or restaurants, and I have not seen police officers arresting anyone. There’s something else that I have seen very little of, and that is stress. I am sure there are people here who get stressed out at times. That’s human and it’s something we all have in common, but I am talking about the kind of stress that is a lifestyle for millions of people. You don’t rush life in the mountains. Life is precious, fragile, and life in the big mountains is tough and at times dangerous. Life is lived at a slower pace, and because of that, it is appreciated more deeply.
Being aware can mean being conscious of your surroundings, yourself, other people, or situations. All of those definitions apply here in the Rockies. It is a must, especially when adventuring, that you are completely tuned into your surroundings. This is bear and mountain lion country. There’s also a lot of rough country, rushing rivers, and places prone to avalanche, so entering the wilderness can be dangerous if you are not paying attention. Situational awareness is important. The longer you live with this level of awareness the more in tune you become with yourself. You’ll become aware of strengths you didn’t know you had, as well as a few weaknesses. If you allow it, a lot of personal growth will take place as you get to know yourself better.
This lesson is tied to self-awareness. When you have been in the wilderness long enough for the “new” to wear off, and you have adapted to a slower pace, your thought life will go much deeper. When you stand on the side of a mountain at dawn, on the banks of river running full due to the past winter’s late snowfall, and the only sound you hear besides the river is the wind in the tall pines, and the call of a magpie, you’re overwhelmed by a sense of deep peace. In those moments you are no longer an observer of nature, but a full participant. You can’t help but to reflect on your being and how you’re living life, the most precious gift of all. Gratitude takes on a whole new meaning as you contemplate what it means to live and to experience life rather than endure it. It’s not easy to come back from such a deep journey into your own soul, but when you do you will have a different outlook.
These three lessons may not seem like a big deal, but don’t underestimate the impact that they can have on your life. Imagine your life lived at a slower, more relaxed pace. Then imagine being keenly aware of who you are, what you want, and becoming a full participant in your own life. No more rat race, autopilot, and shelving your dreams. Life hopes by quick, and before you know it years will have passed. So, what are you waiting for?
Now, I am off for the next adventure! See ya soon!