Oftentimes in the stressfulness of modern society we are tempted to fixate and obsess on our issues, challenges and problems. I find that hiking and photographing on a windy day helps alleviate this tendency by immersing me in a landscape milieu where everything is constantly flowing. But unlike the frenetic activity of our culture, THIS kind of flow contains an underlying peacefulness about it. John Muir puts it this way:
"In the most ungovernable displays of wild energy there never is wanting an inner spirit of repose. Universal and immovable repose characterize all of the deeds of God. Repose is as visible in the so-called ragings of storms and crash and roar of avalanches as in the sleep of mountains in sun-calm."
On Saturday, I spent a half-hour lying on Dream Lake taking pictures in the midst of a ferocious windstorm. My glasses were wet with wind-induced tears and fogged with breath, my beard was frosted with ice, and my hands (even while wearing a thin, inner set of gloves) started to go numb. It was difficult to avoid being blown over as I moved from one artistic ice patch to the next. But the wind made me feel fully alive, and I returned home a bit more able to let go of the physical, emotional and societal challenges that have been gnawing at me all this winter.
Windstorms can be truly liberating. I wholeheartedly recommend dressing up in warm clothes, putting some heat packs in your boots, and venturing out into - and becoming ONE with - their excitement and play!
Photo: Dream Lake ice artistry on a blustery day, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO, February 6, 2016
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Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.