“In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says, -- he is my creature, and maugre all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune." Theodore Roosevelt
On this Earth Day, I am reminded of a story from India. The Yogi and the Prince is a story about the value of the world each of us walk upon with every step we take. You will be able to listen to it at the end of this post.
I am also reminded of the power found in Nature. I mustered out of the Air Force in March of 1973. I moved to the Denver area. Over the July Fourth Holiday, myself and several friends decided to hike up Grays Peak (14,278 ft).
I awoke in my sleepeing bag to a crisp July 6th morning. It was just after dawn. The birds were singing and the forest, like myself, was waking to a bright new day. I stepped out of the tent and took a deep refreshing breath. I followed the song of a nearby creek. The sun was marching down the mountainside. I arrived at the creek as brillant sunlight highlighted it's waters. I dunked my head under the icy crispness. Ahhh. Who needed coffee?
Soon we fired up a tasty breakfast of bacon and eggs. By 10 am we were on our way hiking up to Grays Peak. A warm 80 degree day encouraged me to wear shorts and a tank top. We were planning on eating lunch at the top, so I carried a light backpack. I was also accompanied by my dog, a Scottich Terrier named Jemimiah.
The trail to the top was crowded. Seems a lot of folks had the same idea. Once I got above the tree line, I found the views to be breath taking. It was a quietly nourishing hike. As I neared the summit of Grays Peak, I noticed a few cloud tops off to the north climbing over Torreys peak. The sun was shining in a relatively cloudless sky.
At the summit, we could finally see over the peak to the west. There, coming at us, was a storm. After quickly downing lunch, we started down the trail. The temperature dropped. The wind picked up. It began to snow.
As I moved back down the mountain, the snow became sleet, hail and rain. There was thunder and lightning. Hundreds of hikers were moving as quickly as they could off the peak. My confused dog began barking and snapping at the hail. I picked her up and carried her under my shirt. The small creeks I'd hopped or stepped over were now ragging torrents that needed to be waded to cross.
By the time I'd gotten back to camp, I was freezing. Seems I was ill prepared for natures sudden change in attitude. I was wrapped up by my friends and thrown into a VW Bug with the heat on at full.
I learned a valuable lesson that day. When hiking in the mountains, carry more in your pack than lunch.
Here is The Yogi and The Prince.(recorded live)