A Sacred Place

Isabelle - San Luis Obispo, California
Entered on March 2, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: nature

I believe in hiking to the top of a mountain, standing up tall, and spreading my arms wide. As I stand perched atop the summit of the tallest mountain in sight, sweating and panting from a strenuous day’s climb, I am able to see my most sacred and salient life as one tiny piece of an enormous and elaborate system. My chaotic life seems to slow down, leaving me as long as I desire, to rest in a place of true happiness where my thoughts are effortless and my mind is at ease. The community I gaze down upon looks tiny and seems insignificant. In this moment I am able to see civilization with an open heart and a wise mind—no longer anticipating the future or dwelling on the past.

In this place I am overwhelmed with the beauty that surrounds me and am satisfied by a feeling of mental and spiritual tranquility. All that matters is where I stand: a place of serenity, harmony, calmness, and comfort—a place I call peace of mind.

When I stand at the top of a mountain, I think of my home in Boulder, Colorado, where I grew up exploring the varied mountain trails. I keep in mind my first love, a dog named “Freckles”, and all the times she pranced up the mountain slopes as I panted behind her. I imagine myself years ago, looking forward to weekend hikes with my mom, stopping at a deli shop on the way back to sip on a coffee and nibble on raspberry scones. I keep in mind the day my Dad and I proudly signed the summit log of our first fourteener together. Hiking takes me back to a place of uncontaminated happiness and reminds me of the precious value of life.

When I stand at the top of a mountain I am able to forget about whatever stress and anxiety currently inhabits my life. My upcoming midterm fades away, carrying with it an anticipated break-up, a cluttered apartment, bickering friendships, and the aches and pains of homesickness. My mind is filled with a sense of timeless beauty where frivolous matters fail to break my spirit and I know that where I am is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

I believe everyone can recall a place where they have experienced peace of mind. Peace of mind can manifest itself in an infinite number of different ways; my roommate’s cruise down an open highway, my mom’s favorite trail at Chautauqua park, or my brother’s court side seat at Cammeron Indoor Stadium. The only requirement is the distinctive power to activate an extraordinary place in your heart, a sacred place that is nearly indescribable. I believe in hiking to the top of a mountain, standing up tall, and spreading my arms wide.