Outside of the Northeast entrance of Yellowstone the beautiful Beartooth Highway weaves and winds it way through the Absaroka Mountains. Past the “Coolest Small Town in America,” Cooke City, we pulled off onto a dirt road, drove through a field covered with tall yellow wildflowers and set up our home. You could see the iconic Pilot Peak right from our dining room window. It was quiet, a stream rushed by in the near distance. Islay ran out and ate the yellow flowers. Every now and then we could hear motorcycles roar up the highway. We opened up all the windows and let the crisp mountain breeze float through.
Sunday morning I woke up early. Made my coffee, read my bible, did yoga in the sunshine and took my time. We went to a small chapel right outside of Yellowstone. We prayed for the victims in Nice, Dallas and Baton Rouge. I looked past the preacher at the mountains shining blue in the distance. Andrew and I can run far, far away but trouble still exists. There are people hurting, angry and fighting for peace. Peace, that elusive state of mind. Peace in the midst of trying circumstances, peace in the midst of anxiety, something that goes beyond my surface emotions, steady and strong as a mountain river.
After church we drove into Cooke City and had lunch at a little diner that had bright fresh flowers hanging in baskets on the patio. We sat outside and watched the town meander by. Afterward we walked to the General Store that’s been there since 1883. The old wood floors creaked as we looked at wildberry candy and old pictures. We bought stamps to send all our 10 nieces and nephews postcards.
We went back into the sunshine and walked up and down the street looking for a chocolate malt. We found one in a little bakery. The lady put in extra malt and extra chocolate. We left sipping and smiling.
We drove up the Beartooth back to our home and lazied away our afternoon. That evening we packed up Islay in the truck and went for a drive. A mountain river followed the road up and up. We passed crystal clear lakes and stately pine trees. A storm was brewin’ in the distance, we could see shafts of rain falling on far away peaks. A rainbow materialized further down the highway and we chased it straight into the storm. Gentle rain washed our mud covered truck. We listened to Counting Crows good life music, Tim O’Brien country folk and Dakota Ring electronic. Alpen glow lit up the peaks and hillsides bright pink and orange.
We followed the switchbacks up to the highest point on the Beartooth. We pulled off the road and just stared, taking in the view, the setting sun reflecting off the lakes, lit up and happy purple clouds, the mountains stretching for miles and miles into a cool blue.
Ever since I changed my meds I feel like a darkness has left me. It’s not such a fight to get through the day, I don’t feel like I’m carrying around a weight, holding me back. Lately I’ve been waking up and before I even open my eyes I feel heavy. Now I wake up and immediately ask, “Am I ok?… Ya, ya I’m ok, everything is fine.”
Sometimes you get so used to surviving that you forget what it’s like to live joyfully, to have that absence of strife, to settle in with peace.
There are seasons to put up a good fight and there are seasons of contentment, stillness. If you are going through a tough time, just know, this will pass, there is hope, there are bright dramatically beautiful clouds past the shafts of rain.