If my life is measured by summers, it is most definitely measured in these long, hot days running wild in the mountains on our annual summer trip to Miette.
Every time we roll up that windy mountain road, it feels a little bit more like coming home. The days are long, the mountains tall, the coffee strong, the time spent together as a family valuable and by the time I collapse into bed at the end of the day I am thoroughly exhausted.
There's always time for one more quick swim, one more hike, one more conversation.
Perhaps that's what I love most about these trips. It feels like there is always more.
Out there, nothing is lacking. There is never not enough. Even as we drive, I can feel the layers of heaviness surrounding my heart just melt away until we pull up to our little mountain kingdom and I am eye to eye, toe to toe with my real, honest self.
There's something about the truth that doesn't hide from me here.
This year we packed up the van and drove to our little mountain town. And even just sitting in the passenger seat of the boyfriend's truck with my bags packed and anticipation swirling around in the air, my heart almost burst at the thought of being surrounded by all the people I love so dearly for a whole weekend.
Sometimes, I think, this qualifies as magic.
There were mornings where all of us crammed into a tiny cabin to eat breakfast, still pajama clad and sleepy eyed. There were afternoons spent wading in the river, wandering through Jasper, swatting mosquitoes and hiking up to the old pool (which I still think is one of my favourite places on earth, and feels to me so much like poetry). There was kissing, and staying up late, jumping into the cold pool until all limbs were numb only to retreat back to the warm pool and sigh over the tingling feeling in hands and feet, stories were told and many rounds of catch played and over and over again I fell in love the way you fall asleep, slowly and then all at once.
I cried, because sometimes you can't hide from the truth. I collapsed from exhaustion. I let the mountain air and the sunshine heal my soul once again, and let it all remind me who I am.
I am so incredibly grateful for my family, and the memories we make in this place. I'm grateful that this year family stretched to include more of the people I love so much. I'm grateful for the life lessons learned around the breakfast table and over coffee and while sitting around with my people.
When I got my tattoo (a mountain) it symbolized a lot of things.
It was in memory of my cousin, an avid snowmobiler. His favourite place was in the mountains, and it was on this little mountain near Jasper that I have some of the best memories of our family.
It's because I feel most at home in the mountains, and to me they represent freedom and strength.
And it's because of that verse in Matthew that talks about having faith to move mountains.
As I spent this weekend loving, and telling the truth and healing my soul, my faith was also restored in some small way. My faith, not only in God, but in goodness and love and family and people, in the world and in myself.
If I could bottle up some of that magic I feel during our family trips to that mountain, I would. I would put it on a necklace and carry it with me every day.
We arrived home today, and I have new dreams tangled in my hair, fresh ideas stirring in my head and a wild, radical love taking root in my heart once again. I am so grateful for all of this.
"God is in the mountains. Impassible, immovable, jagged giants, separating the celestial from the terrestrial with eternal, diagonal certainty. As if silently monitoring the beating heart of the Creator from the universe's perfect birth. Stood in the thin air and the awe, one inhales God, involuntarily acknowledging that we are but fragments of a whole, a higher thing. The mountains remind me of my place, as a servant to truth and wonder. Yes, God is in the mountains. Perhaps the pulpit too and even in the piety of an atheist's sigh. I don't know, but I feel him in the mountains."