Running to the Mountain: #A-Z Challenge
“There are times in one’s life…when one simply has to stop, step out of one’s routine, and take the trouble to think. It’s not a luxury but an obligation: how else to even try to make measured, considered decisions based on deliberation and self-awareness rather than on impulse or fear?
Going to a monastery is one way to think these passages through, and running to a mountain another, but so is taking a long walk with a dog, driving to the nearest beach, or, failing all that, waking up before dawn to sit in a quiet room for an hour to consider the course of your life.”
I collect books like Running to the Mountain, gobble them voraciously, read and reread them. They are the true stories of women, and the occasional man, who go off by themselves for an extended period of time, often to write and reflect. They always emerge transformed by their experiences.
I have dreamt of being one of those people for as long as I can remember. I still have the bucket list I wrote forty years ago at age eighteen. Number one on the list was “Write a book in a thatched roof cottage by the sea in Wales.” That dream has taken the number one spot on every bucket list since. It is my version of running to the mountain.
Why I Won’t Be Running to the Mountain Anytime Soon
When I share my bucket list desire, most people smile indulgently. But a sales clerk in a bookstore had a very different reaction. In my ongoing search for a book about someone who has done exactly what I want to do, I asked the clerk if she knew of any such titles. She backed away from me. In a voice tinged with terror, she said, “How could you say that to me? How could you know that’s my dream?”
I didn’t, of course, but I have since come to realize that I am not alone in my romantic vision of the solitary creative, writer or artist, making art while immersed in beauty.
Unfortunately, my dream won’t be happening in the foreseeable future. Within the last year, I’ve rescued two dogs. One of them, Shylah, is a highly sensitive mixed breed from Mexico. It took her months to recover from the flight from Mexico to Canada. I wouldn’t put her through another, and I’d never leave her for an extended time.
And then there’s the little matter of creature comforts. I didn’t realize that thatch smells; that thatched roof cottages available for rent are usually old, with uncomfortable antique furniture. In Running to the Mountain, Jon Katz writes about months spent waging war against mice and blood-sucking insects. No thank you. I have no interest in that, or the Welsh version of it.
And yet, the dream refuses to die. There’s something in it that calls to me. For now, I am content with my little octagonal art studio and sun-filled library on my own gorgeous property with its view of a pond rather than the sea. Someday though, who knows?
Do you have a place, a room or a corner that is special to you? Or maybe a dream of one?