Anyone who has spent time in Yosemite knows it is a special place. It is clear from the moment you drive into the park that things are different there. Things are BIGGER! But what you take away from a trip to the infamous valley is up to you.
Having spent a relatively short period of time living in this mystical land, I have spent countless hours pondering life, love, religion; any topic that sprouts up has potential to spread it’s seeds. However, two questions overwhelmed my thoughts day after day. “Why am I here?” and “Where do I go next?”. These questions ran through my head like a broken record.
Sure, I spent my summers in the valley because it provides an abundant availability of climbing, cheap living situations, and friendly like-minded individuals. But beyond that, beyond the obvious, beyond the self-explanatory, I needed something deeper. I needed a catchy concept, or a witty phrase to sum up the learning and growing that takes place in the valley (if you approach it right). Could it be done? Is there anything so simple that can comprehensively capture the essence of a place so much larger than us?
Approaching the end of my 2011 summer, the answer began to reveal itself to me. Still, no all-inclusive statement can even begin to touch the experiences and the people and the waterfalls and the river and the list goes on and on! But I believe what I benefited most from my summers spent sitting lazily by the river is a new sense of humanity. A sense of connectedness to the world around me. A sense of generosity towards others. A new understanding of right and wrong, simple actions establishing new levels of influence once done over and over. From the benefits of training for climbing, to the impact of humans on our environment, it all began to take new meaning down by the river.
Down by the river is where I find my peace, it is where I find my hope, and its where I find my inspiration. So a big cheers to Yosemite and a big cheers as well to the people fighting to protect it!