Long’s Peak and a View to Quiet a Mind

I’ve written many times that one of my constant companions is this flu of ideas and thoughts that fill my head, all the time.  My brain is sometimes so noisy with thoughts that I can’t escape them, and it’s hard to follow one thread of thought for enough time to see it to a conclusion.

I know, first world problems, right? Boo-hoo hoo, look at me whiny about not getting a minute away from my own mind. Really, in the scheme of things, yes, it’s a minor problem, and I shouldn’t complain. And, I’m not. Instead, I am setting the stage.

Because, this particular tale I wish to share with you is most remarkable when you are cognizant of how my brain spends weeks with thoughts flooding through, and providing very little in the way of rest.

I had been having a particularly long period of “brain flu,” and I had just learned an alternate route from work during the evening commute, which takes me parallel to the always busy I-70.

The last leg of the trip turns me facing north/northwest, to hook up again with I-70 to go  the last few miles home. This particular day, I turned, and went under the railroad tracks, and as I started to emerge from under the bridge, and as I crested the hill, there it was, huge, and perfectly framed by the narrow passage under the tracks.

For the first time in weeks, my mind was silent. The mountain looked like it was just a few miles away, rather than the 70+ miles away I knew it to be. I stared at it, as if I’d never seen that beautiful peak properly before in my entire life.

Anyone who lives near mountains knows that they sometime look like they are much closer than they really are, and that that perspective changes daily.

Here’s a picture I took from just past the spot, and it wasn’t as big the day I took the picture. I don’t remember seeing the crane at all, and can’t even tell you if it was there.

Longs Peak, one of Colorado's 14ers, looking further away than it did on the day our story takes place. But, you get the idea. What I do remember, is thinking, over and over again: “That’s Long’s Peak. Right there. That’s Long’s Peak. It has to be. It’s Long’s Peak, but how? I’ve *never* noticed it there before. How did I miss it? That’s Long’s Peak!”

I starred at it, rampant disbelief echoing around my head which was pretty much empty of other thoughts, so, it had lots of room to run.  That glorious sight allowed me to hear silence. It gave me peace, and then, there were a few appreciative tears, I’m not ashamed to admit it.

It was like a wake-up call to pay attention to what was all around me. To be present in the moment, and allow myself to breathe and take in the wonder and magic of existence. It shouted, “Look, you idiot! You live *HERE* in COLORADO and it’s BEAUTIFUL! It’s amazing every. Single. Day. And, you’re not appreciating it.

That moment was like a breath of fresh air, and there was healing it. It’s one of those moments that remind me of those words of the Psalmist, who said “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from where comes my help.”

Yeah, I know, I’m a big softy, and this wasn’t remotely funny.  But, I was needing this reminder again this weekend.  And, by sheer coincidence, I have been meaning to use this as a blog post for ages, and had nothing better to write about today. So sue me. (On second thought, please don’t. Thanks.)



  1. “I will lift up my eyes to the hills…”

    When I first moved back to Denver after four years in New Hampshire, that verse went through my head almost every day. I never take the mountains for granted now.

  2. Amen to that.