In times of sadness, we go to the mountains.

The peaks are our refuge and our strength in times of sadness. Photo: U.S. Forest Service
The peaks are our refuge and our strength in times of sadness. Photo: U.S. Forest Service

SADNESS COMES.

Intrusively and unapologetically it pushes its way in.

Forcefully interjects itself where it is not wanted.

It rushed in the moment the loss was there.

It disrupts.

It demands.

Somehow, in those low moments, the mountains call.

Quietly, soothingly invite.

And simultaneously, just in the thought of them, bless.

Roger Summers
Roger Summers

Yet, lethargy is in control. It rudely and abruptly swift kicks and then supplants thought, purpose, movement, action, interest.

So the call, the lure is not immediately, fully heard, felt, answered, responded to.

Eventually, though, we go.

Go to follow the song, the feel, the wisdom, the pull of the mountains.

It is not easy.

For we have followed these routes before.

So many times before.

Mile upon mile.

Memory upon memory.

Retracement of happier times haunts.

Brings sadness all its own.

At first, it fights against the mountains’ call.

Until, milepost upon milepost, memory upon memory, it begins to let go.

Slightly at first.

Then a little more.

Then a little more.

Then . . .

Gone? No. But it begins to lessen its tight, controlling, restrictive grip.

Begins to let bits of strengthening sunshine peek through the overcast.

And then the mountains are within view.

And finally are there.

They welcome.

Mountains know, teach.

Mountains are joy, freedom, friend.

Like a long lost best friend whom we always knew to be there. But one, in these sad moments, just out of view, just out of reach, just out there somewhere in life’s haze.

Yet, when we return to them it is as if we had never gone away.

Everything familiar is familiar again.

The embrace of the mountains is as welcoming this time as all of the times before.

The mountains ask nothing.

Require nothing.

Still, they give.

Abundantly give.

Mountains are gifts.

And they are givers of gifts.

So we go and stay awhile.

And are soothed.

And when they have so much restored us, blessed us, and it is time to go they accompany us homeward.

Go with us as we retrace all of those miles, all of those memories of yesteryear.

And so the sadness is lessened, softened.

Surely it never fully will be gone.

But, as we knew they would, the mountains have understood.

Blessed in a profound, understanding, restorative way that only the mountains can do.

And, the mountains with us, we go on.

Roger Summers is a journalist, essayist and author.

Please click the book cover image to read more about the poignant and heart-warming short story collection of Roger Summers, Heart Songs From A Washboard Road.

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