Midwesterner in the Mountains

Blue Ridge Mountains

Photo courtesy of Eric Albitz Photography

Biking home from work, I often feel tired and spent. Regardless of how much I enjoy my work at Wilderness Adventure, the work can be demanding; and like most jobs, my schedule goes beyond the 9:00 – 5:00 time slot. What amazes me though, is as soon as I struggle up the last hill on my way home, I get a sudden elation, a burst of energy, and a healthy battery reboot.

What I experience is not an endorphin buzz from my burning legs, and is unparallel to any cup of Joe. What I see, and what gives me that second wind, is the panoramic view of Price Mountains barricading across the land. And for a moment, my Midwestern mind gets lost in mountain awe.

From the cornfields of the great state of Iowa, I came to Virginia to work, explore, and stand in the shadows of giants. I don’t know exactly what drew me to the rugged terrain of the mountains. The recreation it provides is the quick answer, for every element of the mountain can be rode, ran, hiked, climbed, and explored; but those days as I ride home tired from the long day’s work, I begin to further understand my mountain magnetism.

I catch my breath, staring wide-eyed across the rupturing horizon, and contemplate how the mountains stand so tall even when I’m at my weakest. They silently lumber into the sky as the intersection between land and air, as the separation between mice and men, and as the difference between life and living. There they are day after day, a testament to the brush strokes of Mother Nature and the ruggedness of Father Time. I can watch as the mountains stand indifferent to the ominous rain clouds and prevailing winds, and I grow enamored of their will to continue on. I strive to be as strong as the mountains and I live vicariously through their stoic stature.

The quiet authority of the mountains still puts me in daze, and it may just be my Midwesterner eyes, but every day I feel humbled and honored to stand amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains. So here’s to getting out, to seeing what’s always been standing right in front of you, and to finding your own mountain meaning.


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