“You can never have too much sky. You can fall asleep and wake up drunk on sky, and sky can keep you safe when you are sad. Here there is too much sadness and not enough sky. Butterflies too are few and so are flowers and most things that are beautiful. Still, we take what we can get and make the best of it.”
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Yesterday I went to one of my favorite places, The City of Rocks National Reserve up in Southern Idaho. My best friend and I filled up my tank, and filled up the car with road trip junk food, and headed north toward the most incredible place. You drive for hours on open road with nothing but hills around you. Suddenly you turn the corner and find yourself in the middle of a massive valley littered with rocks and boulders the size of buildings. It’s a literal city of rocks in the middle of the landscape. It’s breathtaking and you feel like you are on top of the world.
It’s amazing how refreshed and revitalized you can feel when you are in the middle of all of nature’s beauty, unencumbered by cell phones and networks. In her most recent letter to me from the field, my best friend Shelby talked to me a bit about that. She is in the MTC with nothing to do but study, no distractions.
“Sometimes we study 14 hours a day. No, this is rea. And the thing is, it just amazes me that the human brain can DO that. We constantly clog our creativity with social media, smart phones, social norms. We’ve taught ourselves that NO ONE can POSSIBLY focus for a whole day. And that’s just a discredit to the majesty of human possibility.”
She hit the nail on the head beautifully. I feel like it is impossible to focus on anything for more than about an hour before the nagging urge to check Facebook sneaks back into my system. Nothing happens on Facebook in that hour, I just NEED to check it.
But I don’t though. It’s more important to check back in with yourself more frequently than to check back in to social media. That’s what this trip was about for Niki and me. We’re busy this summer. I have school and work and an upcoming move to Salt Lake City. Niki works her little butt off and is so amazing and beautiful.
But what keeps us busier than our real obligations is our busy minds, always working, always over thinking, always on loud. Even on the days we have off from work and school, we keep our phones by our sides hoping that that one special person will text us and make our day. We sit in or rooms dreaming of our future happiness, or past happiness, and stressing about all of the things we should be doing. We never stop.
Yesterday we stopped. We listened to to the world and we listened to each other. We heard our feet synch up with the rhythm of the planet we call home and we listened to the wind humming in our ears as it pushed the hair from our eyes, clearing our views for a brief afternoon.
We talked about our hopes and dreams, our worries and regrets. The loves we haven’t gotten over, the loves we never will get over. The sky seemed to suck away our sadness and as we sat on top of the world, overlooking the city of rocks beneath our feet, I felt refreshed. Sad to come back to society, but happy to have reestablished my connection with the world. I felt centered and at peace.
There is not enough sky in our lives. Not enough natural beauty. We should all get better at checking in with nature instead of Facebook, listening to birds tweet instead of sending our own. I do love the connection social media provides but there is a deeper, more ancient connection sitting just outside of our doors. Spread your roots outside and connect yourself to the sky.
You can truly never have too much sky or too much love. Go outside and let the sun wipe the tears from your cheeks. Go outside and let the grass hold you when no one else is there. Let the wind rock you to sleep. Go to The City of Rocks and throw your problems over the edge of the world and don’t look back down.