Inspired by Awe

posted in: Mindfulness | 0

Awe. It can be a difficult emotion to explain, and easy to recognize when you experience it.

This last week, Tim and I had the opportunity to head to the east side of the Sierra, over the mountains from where we live. He had a wedding to perform in Mammoth Lakes which, at this time of year, means traveling through Yosemite National Park, into the high country and over Tioga Pass at almost 10,000 feet in elevation.

The trip takes us through shrubby foothills, the conifers of higher elevations, and then above the tree line where little grows. It is scarred by wildfires, and marked by recovery. The Bristlecone Pines always amaze me, some of the oldest beings on earth, seemingly growing out of nothing in the harshest of conditions. We pass several lakes, and few structures, save for Whoa Nellie Deli, a must stop for lunch if you’re ever in the area (best fries EVER!). And dominating the landscape are the gigantic granite monoliths which are Yosemite.

Being among such majesty, instills that sense of awe. I feel a closer connection to all of creation, a sense of my smallness. We had the added bonus of Fall colors, the Aspen a vivid yellow and a spot of red Maple here and there. More awe.

Mammoth Lakes got its name from the many lakes that surround the area. These glacially formed lakes are, for the most part, free of motorized watercraft, so they are clean and clear and quiet. The wedding was at Twin Lakes, and between the rehearsal and the wedding, we were able to visit a few others in the area. My favorite was Lake George, and that’s where I found my sit spot.

A sit spot is just as the name implies, a spot that you can sit and take in nature, cultivate your awareness and use all your senses to connect. Look for a future post for more information on sit spots. This place inspired me, the beauty of nature a reflection for beautiful words, so I used it to complete an assignment for my Morning Altars class and I want to share it with you today. The assignment was simply to write a poem expressing what I saw and what I felt.

An Invitation

A trip over the mountain.
The eastern Sierra is wearing her Autumn coat,
alive with color.
Brilliant reds and golds,
and a coppery orange that’s pure and true.

A new sit spot.
Lake George looms before me,
perfectly framed by a hollowed out tamarack,
and one that has fallen,
returning to the soil to nourish new life.

A cool breeze creating diamonds on the water,
and then stillness and the reflection blending sky and lake.
The breeze picks up again,
making the aspen quake,
their golden leaves dancing in the sun.

To wander and to wonder,
To behold and to hold tenderly as she has me.
I am home. I am home.

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