I came to the cabin three weeks ago after suffering from an emotional setback, what felt like a huge betrayal. I came here to sit and absorb all the sweetness this place provides. Sitting on the front porch, gradually the world around me comes into focus while the pain dissolves. All the stillness and peace of this place seeps into me, gradually replacing the pain and anxiety.
I’m not sure exactly what that peace derives from: the aspens and pines? the birds? the small animals? the clouds? the view of Mount Meeker, so much bigger than any problem I have? Each one is comforting. To me, the sound of bird calls can pull me out of any unhappiness or inward fixation, like pulling my brain out of some obsession and into something outside of myself, something purer and more real, even startling. In the same way, the sight of the chipmunks, ground squirrels, and rabbits running around the yard is a happy distraction.
But it’s something beyond the sound of the wind through the aspens and pines or the enjoyment of the animals. I’ve come to realize that when I come here, I drop all my defenses, all those barriers I put up when dealing with the human world. Here I trust everything, so I open myself to everything, and then something melts in me, some softness opens up, and I start to feel everything: the quiet, the warm sunlight, the sheer strength of the mountains.
It means dropping all the analytical and distancing techniques I use in my daily life. My work, for one, requires some mental concentration that ignores or excludes feelings. How often have I found myself at the cabin deep in editing a book on economics, hardly aware of where I was, and looked up to see a ground squirrel on the fence opposite me, looking at me quizzically? Wake up!
Everyone needs a refuge from the world, a place where the barriers dissolve, and where we can let ourselves feel everything—all the good and the bad. I know I’m lucky to have this cabin. I would wish a place like this for everyone.