Aspen Wilderness Seminar—Part Two

Saturday morning after breakfast and a discussion session, we split into groups of 4 and navigated from the hut to the top of Mount Yeckel with a map and compass. We had another sunny day with a blue sky and gorgeous puffy clouds. The group ate lunch at the summit and discussed a few more readings before heading off to our “solo hour.” Paul took us all to individual spots where we stayed for about an hour, and during this time we were meant to reflect, meditate, etc.

I found the perfect spot on top of a cliff by a downed tree and with a view of the mountains. I took a few photos and just simply listened to the wind blow through the trees and looked at my surroundings. At one point a hummingbird buzzed by me and practically landed on my head! I must say I was a bit startled at first until I realized what it was.

We had a light drizzle of rain during dinner and our last discussion of the day, but it cleared up just in time for a warm campfire. We shared stories, read some poems that Paul had included in our list of readings and just enjoyed our last night at Margy’s. Personally, this was a great day for me. We had all gotten to know each other quite well, had some really great discussions, and enjoyed some quiet time on our own to reflect.

Sunday morning came; our last day. Certainly a bittersweet feeling for everyone…we had only been in the wilderness for a couple days, but it seemed much longer. We all had an amazing and relaxing 3 days, but had to get back to our regular lives. Paul did a fantastic job of picking out the readings and grouping them into appropriate categories. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh was one of my other favorite pieces, and after our final discussion I felt even stronger about it. In the chapter titled “A Few Shells,” Lindbergh starts by saying “I am packing to leave my island,” which is her place to escape the trivial activities that clutter her life. For us, Margy’s was our island for the few days we were there. Like Lindbergh, we go to this ‘island’ for a “simplicity of living, to retain a true awareness of life.” She had too many activities, people and things to worry about—but clarifies that it’s not solely the trivial which clutters our lives, but the important as well. There are just so many things we want to do in a day! Lindbergh talks about collecting shells and how she previously would load her pockets until they bulged. She later decides that “One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.

So, we packed up and left our island. It was another stunning day for our hike back to reality. The trail was just as we had remembered it—full of life and fresh air, colorful flowers surrounding us. I took the long drive back to Boulder to reflect on the past few days. I felt happy, stress-free and just enjoyed driving through the mountains…until I hit endless traffic. Oh well, that’s life I suppose. I came back with new knowledge, a different outlook on certain topics, and new friends. I think every so often we all need to take a step back from our often trivial and cluttered lives and submerge ourselves into the wonderful world of nature.

2 Comments (Post Comment)
John Werning says:

Melanie, Thank you, Thank you so much for the photos.
great job on the photos and you got a lightening shot, wow. It was wonderful to meet you and share that beautiful time with you. John 925 2334.

Renee Hill says:

An open mind and living simply all make sense…everyone needs to find balance in life. Sounds like you are on the right track Melanie!

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