Base Elevation: 7,760’
Top Elevation: 11,000’
Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Little Cottonwood Canyon
It’s summer and I made it to the top via gondola. Next to me was a couple and as I glanced over I noticed the woman crying. The gentleman she was with was so very soft-spoken and caring with her. As the doors closed and we were about to make our way up to 11,000 feet I could not help but notice she had collapsed to the floors and was openly weeping and in complete panic.
In a very caring voice her companion assured her it was ok and he was there for her, he told her how brave she was. She sat on the floor facing him he knelt down with his arms around her until her courage moved her to stand up. And right there he hugged her as he looked over her delicate shoulder to the mountains and spectacular view. She stayed within his embrace trusting him, letting him care for her fears until they arrived at the top.
As I watched them I could not help but think about how nature brings out so many different emotions… and there I witnessed a very beautiful love in the strength this man had for this woman and her trust in him to hold her, so that she in return could show him the same love.
As the doors opened I let the cool air fill my lungs. I had never been here before, this high, with this view. As I looked around I could still see snow leftover from the last snow falls which willed this place above normal levels this past year. People were still skiing on the other side of the mountain. I did not know where to walk first in awe of being where I was. Approaching any cliff sent my heart a flutter looking down, looking out and then… looking up and down at my feet. And there it was a perfect rock with a heart on it. I looked around and at that moment was by myself. People find money, I find rocks. I collect one or more from ever place I go. Corny I know. But it gives me tangible evidence that I was there, I touched something, I felt something… I want to hold onto that. I picked it up and thought maybe this-the biggest mountain I have very been on was trying to tell me something?
Later that day I met a vendor from Tibet. All of her things were simple Tibetan style with vibrant colors. Always something that catches my eye. But her path to here this mountain was really what moved me most. Her journey was long and she was a wonderful story-teller of her family history, travels and struggles. I bought an inexpensive bracelet from her because it had two fish on it, and many other symbols only to find out from Wikipedia:
pair of golden fish
The ‘two goldfish‘ (Sanskrit: Gaur-matsya; Tibetan: གསེར་ཉ; Wylie: gser nya ), representing the state of fearless suspension in a harmless ocean of samsara, metaphorically often refer to ‘buddha-eyes’ or ‘rigpa-sight’; symbolises the auspiciousness of all sentient beings in a state of fearlessness without danger of drowning in the Samsaric Ocean of Suffering, and migrating from place to place and teaching to teaching freely and spontaneously just as fish swim freely without fear through water;
The two fishes originally represented the two main sacred rivers of India – the Ganges and Yamuna. These rivers are associated with the lunar and solar channels which originate in the nostrils and carry the alternating rhythms of breath or prana. They have religious significance in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist traditions but also in Christianity (the sign of the fish, the feeding of the five thousand). In Buddhism, the fish symbolize happiness as they have complete freedom of movement in the water. They represent fertility and abundance. Often drawn in the form of carp which are regarded in the Orient as sacred on account of their elegant beauty, size and life-span.
We kept on talking for quite some time as she questioned me about the tiny prayer wheel I wear. For a few years I read everything I could get my hands on about Tibet. When I was about to leave she handed me a prayer flag. People always amaze me with the kindness they show. I could have stayed an talked to this woman for hours and I don’t think many people even stop and take time to learn from others, I surely learned a lot that day. I am grateful for that.
Hearts are so very delicate yet this beautiful rock with a heart represented strength to me on my own personal journey. This day surely told a story when I sat and thought about it all. So the rocks stays with me now and for some reason I feel like it needs to be handled very delicately even after sitting on the top of the mountain at 11,000 feet for so long with the many feet that have traveled over it.
Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks. Also learn from holy books and wise people. Everything – even mountains, rivers, plants and trees – should be your teacher.