Same Mountain. Different Experience.
Published on November 18, 2010
painting by FEARLESS Painter Chrissie
For the past few weeks my doggie Nyla and I have been getting up early and going hiking on the mountain near my house almost everyday. The weather in the desert is perfect lately–not too hot and not too cold and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the sunshine in the morning–it just feels soft.
painting by FEARLESS Painter Martha
I don’t know what it is honestly that has inspired me to start doing this.
It’s not the easiest of tasks as well. It takes Nyla and I about 70 minutes to hike to the top, then circle the entire mountain, and then make our way back to the car! It probably would be quicker if Nyla wasn’t so distracted by chipmunks, the morning breeze, and uh–rocks!
painting by FEARLESS Painter Janet
But it’s quiet there on the mountain in the morning. Except for saying “good morning” to other hikers every few yards–it’s just me, my dog, my thoughts, and the support of Mother Nature below my feet.
You get into a rhythm when you have to make your way across the volcanic rock and choppy terrain of Phoenix’s mountains. You need to be mindful and fully aware of each footstep. You have to let go a little even–not worry about tripping or falling and instead focus on your breath.
It’s my breath that carries me through the veins of the mountain side. It is my breath that makes me one with nature. It’s my breath that I keep count of and focus on as I follow the path I am on.
All for those 70 or so minutes. All until I am back in my car, heading home, and about to begin the business of my day.
painting by FEARLESS Painter Judith
The thing that I enjoy about these hikes as well is that I am now seeing the same people day after day that are there for their morning hike. We are all like little ants making our way in different directions up, down, and around.
Yesterday I met a man that I see everyday running the path. He zooms by me and most people there in his running shorts and tank top–sweating and huffing and puffing. He stopped to pet Nyla and began to tell me how he runs there every day to beat his time from the day before. He pushes himself for an extra second or two–and complained about the wind or too many people on the trail. To him it is all about man against the elements–and trying to get somewhere. Prove something. Achieve something in the end.
And there is nothing wrong with this at all. I actually admire it quite deeply and he looked to be in superb shape.
But how different his experience is with this same mountain that both of us climb day after day.
painting by FEARLESS Painter Margot
Listening to him I couldn’t help but think about painting and how many people in the world come to painting every day–and how even though all of us pick up a paintbrush, and all of us stand in front of our canvas breathing in and exhaling out–each of us shares a very different and unique experience with this beautiful act of creativity.
There are people that paint to perfect their skill–to tighten their technique–to produce something better and better each time. I get this. I admire it deeply. And I see how this can play a part in every Artist’s life and development for sure.
And then there are FEARLESS Painters, who show up at the canvas to become one with the experience–to let the movement of the act carry them through–to not have a “something” in mind they are hoping to achieve or create in the end. Just to breathe in…exhale out…and focus on the path ahead.
Same mountain. Different experience.