Mountain Retreat


Yesterday, my mom asked me to think up three words I would use to introduce myself to a person I’d never met. As in, these three words would be the ONLY information this mystery person would have about me. It was all part of a larger question and conversation but, to make a long story short, the three words I chose were as follows :

Introverted Problem Solver.

It’s an interesting little trio for me - and I feel like I had a few “aha!” moments while stringing them together. But one realization I came away with was that I must be a rather difficult friend.

See, first of all there’s that introverted bit. For me, being introverted means that it takes a long, long time for me to let people in. Like, years and years. Despite the fact that I seem to readily spill all of my thoughts out into words and silver, I actually keep my heart very guarded - and what I share publicly is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what I hold inside. I also need to know that I can have alone time and plenty of space in my relationships…and I’ve found over the years that I need to feel like I have both available at any time in order to get close to someone.

And if you stick around long enough to see past my introversion? Well, then you have to deal with the Problem Solver. My mind never stops working, never rests - which means that I’m going to add your struggles to the unending stream of ideas rolling around in my head. And before long I’ll start throwing “helpful” ideas and suggestions your way…whether you’ve asked for them or not. It comes from wanting to help, wanting those I love to struggle as little as possible - but I also know it can be A LOT.

So, needless to say, I’ve only had a few close friends in my life. But the ones I have - they are pure gold.

Like Emily. My artistic soul-sister. She is so brave and beautiful and kind and every minute I spend with her makes me a better person. She earns the title of Best Friend in so many ways.

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So back in the early days of this year when she suggested we rent a yurt and spend a few summer days in the mountains making art? There was no answer other than a resounding Hell Yes.

And so, we went. Three days of Rocky Mountain magic.

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In the mornings, we made breakfast and then went walking in search of adventure. Wandering through the aspens and fields of wildflowers (Phlox, Larkspur, Columbine), beneath the watchful gaze of the still-snowy Medicine Bow mountains, we talked and sweated and peeled clementines (that we then ate, of course!). So simple, so peaceful - is there any better way to start a day?

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Emily gets all the photo credit for this little bit of silliness!

Emily gets all the photo credit for this little bit of silliness!

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The afternoons saw us creating in whatever medium felt right, playing some music (her on guitar, me on my trusty little uke) and generally just enjoying the mountain view. Apart from an obnoxious porcupine who was determined to spend his day gnawing away on the stairs below the yurt, all was peaceful - soft clouds gathering beyond the peaks to our east and the shadows shifting as the sun tracked across the sky.

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After dinners, we ventured out again for another walk in the rose-gold twilight. And oh - the wild things we saw! So many moose, elk, and dear. Mosquitos by the swarm, too, but it was worth it to follow trails of prints in the road and feel the first tendrils of cool air rising from the low spots in the land.

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As night fell, we stoked the wood stove. S’mores and chocolate dipped strawberries were eaten, shooting stars were exclaimed over. Sleep didn’t come especially easy the first two nights - there’s nothing like being woken by the gnawing of a porcupine (back AGAIN!) or a single coyote howl echoing through the valley - but by night three we found ourselves in sync with the dark hours of the mountains.

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She and I, we’ve already decided that this was simply the inaugural trip - there’s more joy waiting for us, together in the mountains.

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Hayley JosephsComment