The following is a journal entry I wrote June 15 in an attempt to express the feeling of living in the Western mountains. At this point I had lived in or within sight of the Sierra, Bitterroot, San Gorgonio, and Tehachapi mountains. There is so much history there and I learned a lot during my time in the mountains. I have connected with non-living nature in a way I did not know was possible and the only way I know how to convey that connection is through sharing my own words in the form of a journal entry and the words of John Muir. “The mountains are calling, and I must go.”
‘I just wrote the date on this page. June 15, 2014. I don’t know when it became June because I don’t remember it ever being March, April, or May. In fact now that I think of it I am not sure my mind has truly known the month since January. Why is this? Maybe because I have been removed from the world, or that is how some would put it since I have been without television or internet for most of that time. If it came to the words of John Muir he would probably say not that I had been removed from the world, but that I had, for the first time, entered it.
For the last 8 months I have been living near or in the mountains.
February-March just outside the Sierras, less than 2 hours from where John Muir himself was inspired by the Yosemite Vally. April-May in Northern Idaho in the Bitterroot Range which Lewis and Clark traveled through. June in the San Bernardino Mountains close to the tallest peak in Southern California: San Gorgonio. And finally, July in the Tehachapi Mountains. They were all very different in climate and appearance but in the end they had very much the same effect on me.
They called me.
John Muir said, “The mountains are calling, and I must go,” and now I understand why.
Nowhere have I experienced peace like I have standing by myself among the mountains. You don’t feel alone because the mountains feel like they have souls. They feel ominous and sometimes conscious. AND IT IS SCARY, because you feel a little crazy that you feel like a huge chunk of rock is conscious. But it is also comforting. They feel like a big brother who only wants to keep a sideways eye on you while you play, just to make sure you are safe. I would never have understood John Muir if I had not entered some of the very mountains he spent his life in. The mountains do feel alive, and therefore they can call. They call like a siren, unavoidable and beautiful, and take you away from the hustle and bustle of the civilized world to live with the land. It makes you want to stay forever and takes you from time.
Time moves slowly during the days and it feels like you have time to do all the things you desire, but since there are no dramatic stresses or events you can easily lose track of what day of the week it is, or even what month. Even though I work here (I wish I didn’t have to) I am still captivated by the mountains. It is nearly impossible to understand if you haven’t experienced it but I am glad now that I can say first hand that I understand John Muir. The mountains are calling, and I must go.’
I don’t know if this will mean anything to anyone or make you feel any of what it feels like to be at the base of a 10,000 foot mountain but or stand on its peak but its the best I can do! And someday if you get the chance you should experience it yourself!