“You can feel the youthfulness of the land. It’s like a child full of energy and unpredictability.”
Those were my words as we walked through the woods a stone throw from the Sawtooth Wilderness. The two of us had left the trail a while back and were picking our way along a ridge north of Pettit Lake. Our conversation during this hike was wide ranging, but the land was front and center for most of it.
Though it is easy to miss, the land around us has a vibe or spirit that telegraphs its character to those who listen. The Sawtooth Mountains, for example, sends a vibe of youthful energy. It is a young range with unpredictable mood swings – going from burning hot days to freezing cold nights to perhaps a lightening storm or two.
The Ozark mountains where I spend my childhood telegraphs a different vibe. They are an old range full of history and stories. Every nook and hollow within the range has a story to tell. The few times I’ve visited the Appalachian Mountains I’ve felt a similar vibe though I have not had the honor of listening to their voices as much as I would like.
Years ago when I first came to Idaho I worked in the high mountain deserts in the far south-west of the state. Deep canyons cut through the deserts like wrinkles on an aged face. The desert is a shy place, hiding its secrets from visitors. Only those who slow down and watch are given a glimpse into the deep mysteries of the desert.
Cities and town also give off their own vibes. Each one as unique as the people who dwell within their boundaries.
It is easy to miss these signs – to simply go about living on top of the land without thinking about it. The Creator, however, crafted each stone, blade of grass, tree, and dirt particle. As such it beholds us to stop and listen to the spirit of the land in which we reside. They have stories to tell us if only we pause.