The Catskills

Posted: March 9, 2015 in Guest Writers
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Rondell “The Catskills”

We were walking. We were no longer marching. The 2 mile march with a 30 pound rack sack was beginning to wear on most of us. As I walked I began to remember the long road it had taken me to get there. I looked down at my boots, they were as rugged as my soul. I was physically tired, thirsty and out of breath. I walked with my head down, inwardly complaining about the long road ahead. Not realizing that right in front of me was what I needed to heal my soul. I stopped looking at the road beneath my feet and started to look at the road ahead. As the guide-on I was in front. My view was not obstructed by anyone. Not my drill instructor, not the section leader, no one. The sound of the marching boots, the cadence that was called in a rhythmic beat by the drill instructor began to fade as I only heard the beat of my heart. The road stretched for miles. But the splendor of the mountains stretched farther. I looked at the road and up the road and began to pick up speed. I felt a stirring in my soul. I looked up and saw pure beauty. At that moment it hit me, I was in the Catskill Mountains. One of the most beautiful places on earth and they were more beautiful than I could ever imagine. The peaks, the valleys, and the trees
stretched as far as the eye could see. The sun was beautifully bright, shining down and exposing every cliff and every crevice. There was a cool breeze that washed over me and calmed me. The peak of the mountains pierced yet soothed my soul. Looking at the mountains I thought about my life, my road, my choices… my decisions. My walk turned into a march. Into a march away from my problems, away from my life. I felt peace. You see, I have been through many things, like most people. I wasn’t proud of the decisions I had made and the choices I had forced. At that brief moment I was free, I was alone and yet surrounded by the silent marching of others that were oblivious to me. Somehow, at that moment, staring into the distance, I made peace with those decisions. I was in a place where the light didn’t move and the colors didn’t fade. The mountains didn’t care about bad choices, the forests didn’t care about wrong decisions, the road didn’t care about my weight. It seemed as though in rhythm of my steps I felt free.
No one was criticizing me, no one was looking down on me, no one was cheating on me and I wasn’t being pulled in 5 different directions at once. I wasn’t Mrs. Jefferson, I wasn’t mommy, I wasn’t sister, I wasn’t daughter, I wasn’t friend, I was me. I felt love and acceptance, the kind of acceptance that could only come from within. The kind of acceptance that could only come from making peace with your past. As I marched, I marched away from fears, I marched away from defeat, I marched away from insecurities. The mountains were a spectacular sight. For those two miles the beauty of the mountains embraced me. The grass was green, the peaks were clear. I remember feeling free. I wasn’t struggling for anything. I wasn’t worrying about anything. That’s the thing about nature, it accepts YOU just as YOU are. It embraces you, covers you, accepts you, loves you. You see, beautiful things don’t ask for attention. Those mountains had taken decades of frigid cold, scorching heat, fierce winds and relentless rain to carve the beauty that I now had the privilege to see; yet after all of that, they were still there. Still standing, still strong. Waiting to be noticed, waiting to be appreciated. As was I. Somehow they gave me the strength I had searched for, they gave me …me. With the wind in my face, and a smile from ear to ear I marched on. No longer looking downward, but looking onward. Looking into the sun, it was a new day rise. At the end of the march we were atop of the mountain. I sat down my rack sack, took a sip of water from my canteen and gazed at the peaks and valleys and realized it wasn’t the mountains that healed me, it was the beauty of the mountains that helped me see, the beauty in me. After years of enduring heart ache, doubts and sadness, I was still here, still strong, still beautiful, still standing.

  1. vivalaViv says:

    Too much to love about this article.., ‘Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.’ – so humble yet so powerful!!
    Also LOVE your last sentence…

  2. Jude Hammer says:

    Wonderful story. Cant wait for the book.

  3. Toyia Benson says:

    A wonderful read and leaves you wanting more. Great job!!

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