” I like the mountains because they make me feel small. They help me sort out what’s important in life. ” Mark Obmascik.
I have thought of updating my Instagram with pretty pictures of past rad days spent in the mountains. I have tons of them that have never seen the light of Instagram. Not that I’ve never been guilty of updating my feed in the middle of the week with a beautiful shot from 13 weekends ago. But, especially now, it seems to lack instantaneity and spontaneity (which maybe were the first, long forgotten since, ideas behind Instagram). It seems impossible to ignore the fact that right now we are either in a complete lock down with government order to stay at home or still kind of free to roam but with some responsibilities that can’t be ignored. The responsibility of not transporting the virus to communities you might be going through in your quest for a day in the mountains. And of course, the responsibility to not having rescue come for you and then over-crowd hospitals and health workers because you broke your leg chasing those spring turns. We’ve traded the ski touring equipment for some adventures in our backyard.
So posting pretty throwback pictures doesn’t appeal to me right now. And while I’m usually always a sucker for scrolling through my Instagram feed and coming across the huge-glacier-in-front-of-gnarly-peaks picture, the translucent-alpine-lake or the backcountry-knee-deep-powder shot, it doesn’t resonate with me when I’m seeing one of these publications lately. Because I simply can’t go. And I don’t know when I will be able to. Right now I’m not looking for inspiration for when the situation will “get back to normal”. Right now I’m trying to find a sense in what seems like a crazy non-sensical situation. A purpose in “staying at home”, other than waiting it out. I hope that something else can emerge from that time spent inside. Something more than just a big sigh of relief when I’m finally setting foot in the mountains again.
During these days where everybody is struggling to find peace with the situation, with reactions ranging from anxiety to frustration, I’m also on my own quest for meaning and purpose. To be honest the virus is not treating me bad. I’ve used that free time (not having to commute for 1h30 each day and now being on reduced working hours) to engage in a lot more of well-being activities, such as spending a lot of time cooking and baking, or trying to establish a 15 minutes meditation routine. My Strava account will tell you I’ve actually spent much more time exercising and exploring my backyard since the lock down started. I’m trying to not go down the TV and social media rabbit-hole, which can be hard at times, and to instead do a bit more of reading. I’m still struggling to get on a regular routine for yoga practice and I would like to spend some time on creative pursuits, such as writing and photography.
But the point is that I’m slowing down and engaging in more mind-freeing pursuits. I’m of course missing the mountains and the state of moving meditation it brings me into, putting back every day’s worries into perspective. But this slowing down at home allows me to find inside a little bit of the feeling of freedom and peace of mind that moving in the mountains usually brings me. So I’m working on that and hopefully, once we are back to “normal” life, on holding myself accountable for keeping this self-care routine which helps me to free my mind. After all, the ultimate goal is to find at home what adventuring in the mountains is giving me. A sensation of belonging and accomplishment. Being right where I should be.