perspective

image

I am a lover of topography. Rolling hills, towering mountains, it does not matter. But something has changed…

I was raised in the rolling valleys of Pennsylvania. PA was my life blood, the place I called Home, and in many ways, will always be. Growing up in the north – with a mother from the south, a father whom I occasionally mistake for Jimmy Buffet, and two siblings who would choose sand over any other earthen matter – we would travel to southern shores on an annual (or more) basis.

When I hit my mid-teens, the thought of wearing a bathing suit terrified me.  My preference: layers upon layers upon layers of anything that would cover my body, and the faster winter set it, the better. When I got over the self image issue, the heat and humidity still hung heavily over my winter-filled heart. My decision was final: Mountains.

After a short stint in the central Colorado high country in 2009, the east called me back. Well, a boy headed east called me back, if we are going to be honest with ourselves. From New Jersey to Pennsylvania and finally coastal Maryland: the Eastern Shore. I lived on the coast for two l o n g years. Twenty four of the longest months of my life. One hundred and four of the most get-me-out-of-here weeks you could ever imagine.

So, to make an incredibly long, eventful, and emotion-packed story short: we left.

Forward to November 2014…
I am lucky enough to work for one of the greatest land management agencies in the federal government: the National Park Service. My job takes me all over the country and to some amazing places. This week, I spent four days on the outer banks of North Carolina at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

In all honesty, I was not excited to go to NC or the coast. Thoughts of humidity and sand were almost too much to bare. But then, I talked to my mother…

You may not know this woman, but if you met her, you would quickly understand the whirlwind that is: Marla. She is a force and I love her every day for it. As my mind and body felt the stress of work travel, my phone rang.

Me: hey mom…
Marla: video chat me when you can!
Me: i am super busy with work…not really sure when ill be able to. but i will.
Marla: you know youre visiting your grandmother out there.

Me: silence

As I watched the sun set to my back and the waves break at my bare feet, with no one else around, I was reminded of just how grateful I should be for every moment in every place no matter what the scene may be. My mother gave me a new perspective on the land, the sea, and life.

I thanked the grandmother that I never had a chance to meet.

rY.

what draws you in (or out)

I have been dreaming about escaping into the wilderness since we arrived.

Five years ago, I got my first taste, and I have been craving it ever since…it draws me back, my soul, my body. To be the only person for miles, to hear nothing but rustling branches, wild calls in the distance, the howling wind; to watch the night encompass the world around you.

One more week.

Routt National Forest (2009)

inspiration

For as long as I can remember, I have been inspired by the world around me – nature, my family, my husband…it wasn’t the words I read that were written by others or films I watched created by people I didn’t know (though these too have a place in my heart), it was the life I was living at any given moment. And with eight days into my twenty-eighth year in this world, I am no different.

Six days ago, I moved into a home in what feels like the middle of nowhere – the San Luis Valley – and I love it because this, too, inspires me. A 1909 farmhouse overlooking a high alpine desert. Inspirational, right? It inspires me because it is a giant leap from what my “normal” was a mere week ago. Just nine days ago, I was nestled in a cozy house on a 26 acre horse farm in central Pennsylvania: Home. I was surrounded by familiarity; familiarity which never ceased to inspire: maple trees and Eastern Hemlocks, meandering creeks like Slab Cabin Run filled to the gills with stubborn trout, Red-tailed hawks and Blue Jays, Musser Gap in Rothrock State Forest and the seemingly never-ending Appalachians rolling into the horizon.

Today, I rest in unfamiliarity, but I am still surrounded by inspiration. Today, I miss my friends, I miss having a community of people to explore with, eat with, drink with, celebrate with. The sadness that comes from missing these things makes me think about regret and I believe the only regrets we may have in life are those from inaction – the what if’s. What if we didn’t move here? What if Sam said no to this job? What if we didn’t leave the people and places we love to explore for new opportunities? I guess we may never know – but that’s the best part. What I do know is yes, I miss a lot of things about where I am from, but I’m ready for the challenge of this new place and the inspiration that may come with it.

As my forester of a husband travels across the state, it is my responsibility to hold down the fort – to feed the dogs (to feed myself), mind the house, unpack our belongings, clean up, to…explore? I hope so.

-rY.

Sam at BADL    sam hiking badlands wilderness at badlands national park (wall, south dakota)

Bison at BADL   bison resting along sage creek road in badlands national park (wall, south dakota)

Bison at BADL (2)      two generations of bison at badlands national park (wall, south dakota)

Sheep at Rio Grande NF      big horn sheep in rio grande national forest (creede, colorado)

the only constant is change

Over the last few years, I have found myself attempting to actively blog without much success. I must admit, when not traveling or exploring the outdoors, I stare at a screen for nearly 9 hours a day, 4 to 5 days a week – and that is just for work. Screens can be exhausting. Typing can be painful. But change, as it goes, is coming.

I have kept a written journal for as long as I can remember: My family encouraged writing down my thoughts, my college studies supported it, and so it became a lifelong activity for me – not really a “well, I guess I need to write ‘this’ or ‘that’ down”, but more an instinct. Memories fade…words and images remind us of our experiences when our minds are too full or busy. These same words and images flash me back to chapters and moments of my life, the way the smell of dry leaves brings up childhood memories of leave hopping with my siblings. While they hold deeper, personal meaning – they also share my life with those that are not able to experience it with me.

This is the very reason I have decided to re-engage with this whole blogging experience: I want to stay connected to family and friends in as many ways possible as I move across the country.

So, as I kick my feet up during a gray middle-PA lunch break, I invite you to see the world through my lens. Stop by and stay a while, or just check in when your Instagram or Facebook pages are neglecting your needs – hopefully the words and images shared on here will give at least a quick glimpse of the way I enjoy living life (and even more so, inspire you to get outside, too).

.ry.

rambling across the mountains of colorado seeking adventure and inspiration…