Mountains are Calling

In 1873, John Muir wrote in a letter to his sister, “The mountains are calling and I must go.” And I hear the same call. A faint whisper in the ear, reminding me of the cold alpine breeze. Like a drug, time spent in the mountains only leads to a deeper desire, a stronger yearning.

The sight of a towering peak, dusted in white ice. The feel of solid granite beneath my feet. The smell of pine. With these I find peace.

The love I have for the mountains is not entirely my own; it is part of a legacy given me by my father. I recently asked him what continues to draw him to the mountains. He replied, “It’s intrinsic. It’s disconnecting from everything. It is the physical challenge. But even greater: the mental challenge!” 

The mental challenge. His words click in my head. No matter the difficulty of the trail, no matter the class of the mountain, I can prove nothing by conquering it. The mountains do not care how able I am, or how strong. The mountains simply exist. But if I can learn something of myself, if I can reach my physical end and press on through sheer mental force, then I have gained something from the mountains.

In the words of my father: “Some of my greatest memories are from the mountains. I just keep going back to repeat them.”