Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Unseen but Felt

I read this post several times before posting it, and it seems cheesy, but it's a thought I've been obsessing over recently. So I'm going to share and promise something fun tomorrow in exchange for bearing with me here.

The Love Letter

There are no easy answers or quick fixes for life. When we kick off down the trail and into the wild in search of a voice that will tell us how to live and provide us with easy answers we find only the sound of wind echoing through mountain passes. Yet there is something we can connect with out in the remote places of the Sierra, and other wild mountain ranges, something that moves us on a better course. I can't explain it, but I am as certain of it as anything.

A week ago I posted how excited I was for The Love Letter, Fitz Cahall's most recent project. Quite honestly I felt the 12:00 minute movie (above) fell slightly flat for me. It was very good, but not amazing. It was a little bit cheesy (I think intentionally so) and lacked the moments of clarity I usually take away from Cahall's Dirtbag Diaries. I found a few moments touching and certainly it was AT LEAST worth the 12 minute investment. Perhaps I expected too much though, it felt too short.

This afternoon when I finally got around to refreshing my iTunes I discovered the audio companion to The Love Letter. I flicked it on and listened with excitement.

Unseen But Felt

If the video "The Love Letter", tells the visual story, the audio "Unseen but Felt", tells the much more interesting human story. I found myself cringing at times as I listened (like, actually cringing while I sat in my office chair), then smiling, and then repressing laughter as Fitz recounts the final day of their trip. In vivid detail he describes being wailed on by a blizzard on the north-eastern boundary of Yosemite near Matterhorn Peak (which I intend to climb this year). By the end I wanted to burst out of the office, quit my damn stupid job (which I do actually enjoy) and just live my passion. I was blown away.

Even though most of us have not been trapped in a blizzard or are courageous enough to cut loose for 45 days and crash through the High Sierra we can all relate to the experience and to the burning desire to do it. There is this feeling many of us get that being in wild places brings us closer to something. Something we all chase, that bliss we feel living in the moment on the trail.

The Inexpressible

John Muir compared the Yosemite Valley to a cathedral of nature which is fitting because there is almost a supernatural power to these wild places. When we go we may not find answers, but as Fitz discovered, it's not simply escapism that drives us. These places make us feel alive. They wake us from the sleep we lull ourselves into despite our best efforts.

Visiting these places is a way of reconnecting to that inner peace, that inexpressible something, which we can carry with us into our lives. Once our eyes are open to it, we can find it anywhere from the caring touch of a loved one, to a summer breeze.

There is something special about wild places like the Sierra that lets us reconnect as Fitz did. It's something unseen, but felt. Are you like me and obsess over that inexpressible feeling? Have you felt being in the mountains change you for the better?


  1. That's not cheesy at all.

    I think that's how anyone who has a passion for the outdoors really feels. Caged up when their in the office in the city, but very alive and free when they're outdoors roaming around.

    The question is how do we stay outside more and is it really that good if we're out there all the time?

  2. I can't say I totally feel "caged" in the office because I enjoy my work and I like using my brain and digging into problems, that's just a totally different kind of fulfillment for me.

    Quite honestly it's a more stable kind of fullfillment which is why the question "is it really that good if we're out all the time" is important.

    Like most things in life, balance looks like the key.