I always feel more at peace in the mountains. Maybe it’s the smells of fresh pine, the crisp air on my face, or the sounds of birds and nature doing its thing out there, that makes me forget any stressors I previously had my mind on. I feel the most connected when I’m out there, it’s a place where I feel in tune, and full of excitement and life whether I’m running steep, or descending on two wheels whooping and hollering.
Recently I have had some conversations with an amazing friend of mine who has helped me think about the land in a new way. She’s helped me to think about those who have come before us, those who were a part of the land before us. The indigenous peoples in the PNW lived peacefully for a long time before settlers arrived and I think it is so important for us to remember that, and recognize how they must feel. The land we enjoy for recreation was their home, their survival, their resources, and so much more. So as I have been enjoying the mountains recently I’ve found myself wondering…Who were they and what were they like? How did they live? This water that I enjoy swimming in for recreation was a life source for them?
On my favorite hikes in Leavenworth is called The Enchantments, a series of Lakes on an 18 mile loop that has recently become very popular. I grew up coming to this place. I grew up coming up on random days and enjoying the lakes as an escape from life for a little while. As the popularity of the lakes have grown, I’ve found myself becoming bitter; annoyed that the once peaceful place was now packed with cars, and hundreds of people moving up the trail. In sharing this with my friend, she again encouraged me to think about why I felt this way. Why do I feel entitled to this land? The truth is I shouldn’t feel this way at all. I think if we all took some time to think about this idea that we really aren’t entitled to any of this, I believe the world would be a much more peaceful and accessible place.
I definitely don’t have it figured out, and I am learning more and more every day. I am sharing this in hopes that it might inspire you to come with an open heart and mind and learn maybe a new way of thinking. We are all a part of this Earth and a part of creation so how can we treat it like so? Helping others have access to the outdoors and recreation, changing our mindset from bitterness to abundance, and most importantly recognizing those who were here before, learning the history of our country, and how we can move forward and love others more fully.
I decided to learn a little about the history of my town this year and here are a few surprising articles I encourage you to read about. These are all about the natives from the surrounding area in Leavenworth & Wenatchee. We never learned this in school, but I think it’s so important to learn the history of your land, and what truly happened not that long ago. Also check out “Wenatchi Wear” that has many amazing resources and actionable ways to help.
I have no doubt that our Earth needs more love, and more compassion. Imagine a place where we open our minds to the opinions of others, we place ourselves in our neighbor’s shoes and think about their story, their life, their heritage.