I’m in the Rockies. They extend beyond country boundaries and are not affected by politics or religion. They stand the test of time just being. Formed millions of years ago and destined to continue, we live around them, looking up at their majesty and noticing how they support life. Specifically, they grow forests like hair and rivers like braids without help from man or beast. They rock. Literally.
So many mountains in the Canadian Rockies. From Prince George to Calgary and points in between, the highways and waterways meander through them with vistas to remind us that where there are mountains, there are rivers. And where there are rivers, there is wildlife – bears, longhorn sheep, elk, deer, moose, marmots, squirrels and fish. While elementary, this realization comes to me as a revelation.
Pictures of mountains and the civilizations that grow around them are for history books. Being in them for an extended period makes me realize that life grows around them. The rivers used to carry the economy and in some places still do. Tourism abounds along the water’s edge. Logging trucks carry the clear-cut result to paper mills and saw mills at the base of the mountain. Fire destroys whole swatches of forest but then nature takes over and replants. It can take a millennium to restore what was destroyed but at least life returns inevitably.
Bears use the forest and mountains to live protected. When they happen to come near to civilization, all traffic stops. They romp in the momentary spotlight long enough for a photo opportunity and then return to their safety hidden by the trees and rock.
Long horn sheep appear in herds looking for space to roam. They get caught in cross traffic and don’t know where to go or how to escape. Cars back up waiting for them to cross the road or head back into the woods. Passing them by allows us to get a close-up view of the untethered animals. Life goes on.
Deer, moose and bears dart across the road appearing out of nowhere and then disappearing in a flash. You can’t predict when or where they might appear so constant vigilance is required.
The vistas are awe inspiring. Looking at a mountain up close and then seeing it in the distance gives me the idea that thousands of years (millions actually) affect them gradually.
Our lives are day to day. Theirs is millennia to millennia and so they provide a perspective on what is important and how to live through momentary challenges. Our lifetime challenges are just popcorn to the ancestry of a mountain.
Travel broadens the idea of transition. Rivers glide downhill endlessly. Mountains exist without caring or knowing their influence. The sky changes but the ground remains. Thank goodness.