I’ve written before about driving into the clouds and that’s very much what driving to South Lake Tahoe feels like to me; soaring into the sky, a vast openness before us, nowhere special to go but no matter where you end up going or what you end up doing it’s going to feel special.
There’s something about that mountain air, about the beauty and openness of Tahoe that makes me feel introspective. In a good way. I think about life and the wonder of it all. I think about nature and beauty and how everything around us is so old but we are so new. I think about the past; not my past but the past of the world, the past of the rocks and the trees, the valleys and rivers and I am amazed that these things are still with us, still gorgeous and alive. I feel young. I feel small, but in a good way. I am just one thing in the universe. What do I bring to it? What part am I in this landscape of centuries?
I believe just appreciating it all, just taking it in and etching the moment in your brain, a painting of this sky, this mountain, this day embedded in your head forever is sometimes enough. To stand awed by it, to be made breathless when you round a bend and see a deep blue lake sparkling with sunspots ahead of you, gigantic, low clouds hovering above, majestic giants forming deep forests on hills; to see all that before you and have your heart feel like this is enough, this is all your eyes were meant to see, to understand how long this view has been here and the history it holds - that’s enough. That’s our part. To see it, to acknowledge its awesomeness, to feel it in our hearts and our souls, the way we feel music or art, to keep that in you at all times, that is our part.
There’s a freeness that comes with this, for me. A lifting of my heart, a parting of whatever clouds I brought along with me. On the road, driving into the clouds, feeling renewed and inspired. I want to return to the universe what it has given to me and that is, simply, its beauty. And to do that, I appreciate it. I embrace it with my soul.
I don’t believe in God. But I do believe in some kind of higher power, in something that is bigger than all of us. And this is it. I believe in the earth, the world, the universe. I believe in nature and the power it holds over me, the ability to make me want to do better and be better just as a way of being thankful.
I remember this feeling when I am home looking at the stars, leaving footprints in the sand on the beach, watching a tree change its dressing from green to gold and red. I remember it during every sunrise and sunset, every time I plant a seed or admire a flower. I remember when I am standing witness to mountains that hold thousands of years worth of secrets. It’s always there. And it’s always renewed and revitalized when I drive into the clouds of Tahoe.