Mountain Life

Photo from living room by Margie Johnson

By Mike Johnson

Weíve lived in the Wyoming Rockies for 28 years now.
Sixteen in this log home.
I find this surreal for many reasons.

The passage of time is impossible to get my brain around.
28 minutes, 28 weeks, 28 months are all enormous sums of time.
28 YEARS? Thereís no way. This feels more like implanted memory than reality.
All that time totally overwhelms my puny perception.

Elevation is another mindbender.
6,685 feet is taller than any point east of the Mississippi.
Yet I live at this altitude every day.
I once lived in Florida at 9 feet above sea level!
On many days, our home is literally in the clouds.

Bordering Americaís first and largest national forest is another implausible situation.
No fence, no entry gate, just a small sign on a metal post 30 feet out our back door.
The Shoshone National Forest is 2.5 million acres in size.
It connects to other forests, wilderness areas and national parks.
I step past that sign and access 12 million acres of public lands.
It would take multiple lifetimes just to explore a respectable chunk of that.

Yellowstone National Park is just 30 miles west.
Man-drawn borders donít stop its ecosystem, which extends through our property.
Yellowstone's vast forests generate the cleanest oxygen in the lower 48.
Prevailing winds direct it all right over us.

Finally, there's the teeming wildlife. Big game wildlife especially.
Deer, elk, bears, moose, Bighorn sheep, wolves, mountain lions.
All inhabit our neighborhood. All walk across our property.
The deer stay so close they've embraced us as a normal part of their herd.

I sometimes drive the rocky, forested 30 miles to Yellowstone's gate and back again, just to regain the perspective of wilderness in which I live.
When you awaken in a house, with electricity, appliances, hot water and Internet, itís easy to forget the bigger situation.

Which is the perfect metaphor for everyone, no matter where they live.

There are so many larger aspects of life swirling in the ethers outside our immediate awareness.
The world inside our heads is already infinite.
Now add the endless realms of body, spirit, soul, community and 8 billion people with all those innumerable tangents.

Everything is so big!
There is so much to grasp!
We're absolutely buried in input, stimulation, opportunity, potential and choice.

No wonder itís so easy for the years to get away from us.



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