Where does your mind wander? My mind has always wandered to the same place. Whenever I sit with a pencil in my hand, this place comes to life in the margins of the page before me; snow covered jagged peaks, wildlife roaming free, a small cabin sending swirls of warm smoke from a stone chimney. My creations were once premonitions of a place that would one day become my short lived yet long lasting reality.
With nothing but the supplies on our backs and skis beneath our feet, our trek began. Eight arduous miles into the Gros Ventre Range stood between us and the Jackson Peak Ski Cabin. With every stride, the weight of our overly complicated and overly disconnected culture started to dissipate, and in the void left behind an awareness of the immediate started to move in. Breaths in and breaths out were the backbone of consciousness, supplemented only by gasps of awe.
I can’t tell you how long my body worked to deliver me, but it was only a matter of seconds between the time I was in route and when I had arrived. All around us stood jagged snow covered peaks, animal tracks dotted the otherwise untouched snow, and in the center of it all stood a small rustic cabin with a stone chimney, just waiting to be warmed by the caress of wood smoke.
For three days we lived in the mountains. We never thought twice about the world that was moving forward eight miles away.
On our final morning we took time to meditate on the magic of that place, before skiing away. About a mile from the cabin, I started to cry. I was leaving a place that exposed the possibilities of simplicity, and the incredible contrast that exists between the culture of today and the way of life that fuels the soul.
Since this experience, my doodling tendencies have only become more habitual. With each pencil stroke I am paying homage to the place that reminds me of how important connections to wild places are, for all.