The sweat beads on my forehead and runs down into my eyes. The sun hits hard off my shoulders while grass and insects tease around my neck.
This is an unwanted sweat, not a well-earned one on some grand adventure. This grass isn’t nodding its long neck to surrounding peaks, but rather shooting tumultuously out the bottom of my lawnmower. I stop and look around. I hate this. The keeping up with the “Jones”, the manicured lawns, fenced in yards, and so much asphalt in every direction.
I am a mountain loving mom who desperately wants to let her kids run wild and free in the forests daily, learning the land and its inhabitants. But I am living in the middle of suburbia.
Right, smack, dab in the middle.
For awhile now I’ve read many posts on outdoor forums, other city-dwellers struggling to figure out how to have more time in the wilderness. I just couldn’t bring myself to admit I was a city-dweller. I just didn’t relate.
Until I did.
Summer has marched forward and by grace we’ve been able to summit many of the huge peaks that stare us in the face everyday. And from the top I look down on the busy-ant-village of humans bustling about below.
I am apart from it all. It is not me.
But it is. I live in the midst of it. Without wanting to.
But life requires some things. Recently I’ve learned just how “rich” you have to be to actually live in the mountains. As we looked for houses a stone throws from a trail, we realized it would take at least half a million dollars to make that dream a reality.
So what do we do? What do we do when we seemingly have to compromise our dreams to the demands of living?
I have to make my peace with being a “weekend warrior” that might want to spend every minute in some little cabin, away from the bustle of civilization, but can’t.
I have simmered on this topic for the last few weeks. At times hating the cement encase living that defines my house. At others loving that while we live in the middle of the city, we are only 15 minutes from some of most rugged peaks in the U.S.
And I’ve decided, while I cannot live everyday in the forest, I can fill in our margins with outdoor time. I can pack dinner and head to the forest for a picnic. Something that happens weekly during the summer. We can hike and bike and camp weekly.
We can exchange the local playground for the one built of beaver dams and boulders.
We can get to know our land.
Every undulating hill, steep face, gurgling creek and scree-field. We can know the trails and animals. They can become ours. We can sit in their laps and learn from them, both when they build us up and strip us bare. We can be outdoor lovers and city-dwellers.
Not even cement can encase my heart.