I don’t know about you, but I am a practical sort of gal. I tend to be the grounding force in my relationships, the voice of reason, or as my hubby affectionately terms it, the thundercloud rainin’ on someone’s parade. Admittedly, this is so. However, even I need a little escape from the realities of life now and then. I believe there are times when it is perfectly appropriate to blatantly shirk your responsibilities, stick your head in the clouds, stay awhile, play awhile and enjoy the moment while you can.
After far too many consecutive weeks of stay-home Saturdays, E and I were feeling cooped up, so we set out for a little hike in the unexpected chill of this sudden seasonal shift. With the Sierra’s first storm of the season looming on the horizon, we sought ourselves a bit of mountain trail and found some much needed solace in the whitewash of Winter’s aura.
Autumn has finally decided to grace us with its presence here on the desert floor, but just up the road a bit, winter is already creeping in with its icy grip on those High Sierra peaks. We were anxious to get our boots on the trail and did not want to travel far, so we drove up to nearby Walker Pass. There we hopped on the PCT and quickly got into our hiking groove. It felt amazing to move and breathe, as it always does. Meditating on the motion of the clouds, enchanted by the shadow play, thoroughly entertained by the fickle moods of the stormy sky, we enjoyed every moment of a perfect day. We were even lucky enough to encounter a beautiful rainbow along the way, adding a little color to an otherwise black and white day.
This little stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail at the southern end of the Sierra always makes for a pleasant hike. The area is so pretty with alternating views looking northwest toward Dome Land Wilderness and east toward Indian Wells Valley. It is always so peacefully quiet and this day was no different. We hiked along the PCT heading toward Morris Peak, a nice and easy southern Sierra summit with a beautiful view of the valley below. As we approached the saddle we could see that the peak was completely shrouded in clouds. No matter. We continued on, wandering through a forest of frosted trees as we climbed up into the clouds.
The view from the summit was completely obscured by a wall of clouds. And it was rather chilly hanging out up there in those clouds! It was an odd sensation, after all these months of moaning and groaning about the endless summer heat, to find myself quite suddenly hopping about, pacing to and fro, trying to keep warm. We stayed a while, waiting and hoping the skies would open up and clear the view, even if for just a moment. While we waited we wandered around the summit area, fascinated by the frosted surfaces frozen in their windswept state. It was so beautiful. Cold…but beautiful and magical, nonetheless.
And of course we enjoyed a little snack while we waited for a clearing in the cloud cover. Since the persimmons made their first appearance in this week’s organic produce box, I had to bring them along. I adore persimmon season and I always look forward to their arrival. With their sweet, mellow flavor and their crisp, yet juicy qualities, they make a fine companion for a day on the trail. Not to mention that vibrant color…quite a contrast in the shades of gray on a stormy day.
Well, sure enough, just as we started to head back down the trail, the cloud cover cleared for just a few moments, revealing a sky so blue and offering a little peek at that beautiful view. Something about clouds and persimmons and watching this guy so happy in his element, tugs at my heartstrings a bit. I was fondly reminded of that day last year, entranced by the dance of storm clouds over a beautiful mountain range. So, we stayed a while longer, played in the clouds and enjoyed every single moment.
Looking back, I am so glad we stayed awhile, hopping about to stay warm. We almost didn’t. We thought surely the clouds would not clear, but they did. And just the experience of being present at that very moment…well, that was a beautiful gift. It was but a moment and it didn’t last long. The clouds quickly obscured the view once again and the day played out in shades of gray. But with our heads in the clouds, we returned to the ground, exhilarated, rejuvenated, invigorated. Yes, there are times when it is perfectly appropriate to ditch the daily responsibilities and enjoy your moments in the clouds.