There is an underlying cadence, a rhythm if you will, that I believe has been carefully interwoven into the world that we find ourselves. You can say the heartbeat of nature was placed there by God. Or by the universe. You can say it came from wherever you please. I’m not a scientist. Or a philosopher or theologian who has all the answers and can summon facts at the drop of a hat to support my stance. I came to my conclusion on my own and believe that when we truly immerse ourselves, when we tap into the natural beauty around us that we can, as Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “adopt the pace of nature” and use that experience to inform our everyday lives.
Last weekend I ventured to Navaho Peak near Cle Elum for a final hurrah before summer begins and to see if all the stories I heard about the spot were for real. The almost-14-mile round trip hike presented me with the most breathtaking views of the Washington landscape that I have ever witnessed. The kicker is though...you gotta do a bit of work to actually get up there.
The first five or so miles lead you through a thick maze of trees and trail switchbacks as you hike at a fairly steady incline through the different climate zones. I thought I was there on a perfect weather day to reach the peak, but Mother Nature had different plans, said plans including numerous torrential downpours and intermittent lightning strikes directly overhead.
Reaching the top of Navaho Peak made all of that worth it. At over 7,200 feet above sea level the air was thinner up there than what I am used to. Coupling the thin air with just plain being exhausted, all I could do was sit and stare. No reaching for my phone to scroll mindlessly through Facebook. No worrying about bills or finances. Nothing but sitting and thinking. Thinking about how I could take this experience and have it be a part of my everyday life.
To some that may seem like a nature lover's romantic pipe dream. Or a good idea but something that will fizzle out and be forgotten about as life goes on. Maybe all of that is true. Who knows? It’s only been a couple of days. But what I do know is that the pace of nature Emerson talks about is something that doesn’t have to be left out in the woods or on some mountain top. I am now of the belief that we can take that pace with us wherever we go and let it bring us a sense of calmness to our hectic lives.
Richard Byrd can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.