The Sacred Path

Journeys through the mist


Early this afternoon I took a drive up into the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains (my back yard). Spring officially announced its arrival about a week ago, and the foothills are changing out their winter coats of brown and snowy white for their finest spring greens, and here and there the first wildflowers are shaking off their long winter sleep in bursts of lavender. Since this trip into the foothills was a whim on my way to the grocery store (did not make it there) I did not have my camera, but I’m making another trip tomorrow, so I’ll edit this post and put in a picture or two in a couple days.

I find that I naturally follow the seasons of mother nature – her rhythms – when not tied to a normal 8-5 job, and spring is a time of rebirth and renewal; a time to get underway. Late last year I signed up for a photographic workshop this June with an outstanding landscape photographer, Rodney Lough Jr., in Grand Teton National Park near Yellowstone. Three solid days of taking photos and trekking up and down mountains and trails in one of the most beautiful areas America has to offer.

My spring hit this week, and I started to inventory my photographic and hiking gear in preparation for the June trip – still nearly two months away. This will be my first official outing with my new 4×5 large format film camera and one of my dilemmas this week was how to fit 40 pounds of hiking and photographic gear into a 20-pound daypack designed for a digital SLR. Didn’t work; the camera gear just fits, but no room for foul weather gear, first-aid kit, water bottles and food. Warm clothes and foul weather gear are a must when hiking in the higher elevations in Wyoming, because in Wyoming – or the Rocky Mountains in general – there is no month of the year when you are safe from cold weather and snow, especially at 7,000 to 9,000 feet elevation, and you had better be prepared as it can come on quickly and unexpectedly. A new larger backpack is on the way. Some joke that in Yellowstone and the Tetons, you only have two seasons: winter and July.

Many have compared the cycle of our physical lives, from our first breath to our last, with the seasons of nature, and within the rhythm of our lives are smaller cycles and rhythms; cycles within cycles; rhythms within rhythms. It’s important during our hectic everyday lives that we find ways to honor our rhythms and not try to fight them. Fighting your natural rhythms only results in disharmony. Everyone’s natural rhythms are different and if you become aware of yours, you can start to understand them and find ways to honor them. It’s time well spent.


  1. One of the rhythms I’ve noticed over the years is that when Spring finally arrives, I wake up promptly at 6:00 in the morning and am out of bed in a flash, ready to start my day with a surge of energy that lasts well into the afternoon. I find I’m much more productive during the Spring to Fall months. Then when Winter comes, everything slows down to a snail’s pace. I sleep more, have more difficulty finding my “muse” and basically hibernate, incubating ideas and resting up for the cycle to begin all over again. It used to bother me, the hint of inertia, as I am a high energy person who thrives on moving forward. Now, I recognize the pattern and fall into it, rather than fight it, knowing that growth, for instance, whether physical or spiritual, comes in waves and it’s necessary to have some down time, the same way our bodies need sleep to repair and regenerate. I wonder though, if the cycle would run differently if I lived somewhere other than New England, where it was warm all year ’round. The bitter cold winters here are enough to slow anybody down, I’d think. And after 20 years, I’m still not used to it…!

  2. I agree with what you said entirely. I lived in southern California for 12 years, and the seasons there were much more subtle, and it actually bothered me at first having grown up in Wyoming. In the winter in southern California (if you could call it that) you had shorter days, but for me I missed the snow. I took up snow skiing and would take weekend trips up to Mammoth or one of the other ski areas to get my winter fix. After several years, I got used to it, but still found I like hibernating in the winter. As with everything I suppose it depends on the individual.

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