Having been warned that Yosemite was a “circus”, “a nature theme park”, and my favorite “The Valley of Crazed Tourist”, We prepared for the National Parks version of the Hunger Games.
Yosemite hosts a huge number of visitors, many of whom are foreign tourist. A quick census would probably reveal the daily population represented nearly every country. Alright, you probably won’t see anyone from North Korea. But to be fair it’s hard to use Travelocity when your country only has 1,024 IP Addresses.
Crafting an unstable alliance with the Germans and the French assured us a seat on the first shuttle. I love multiculturalism, almost as much as I love personal hygiene. Packed like sardines we could gaze upon a sea of butts, or a large sweaty man’s armpit which looked and smelt like he had a Black Bear in a headlock. Bro. do a little manscaping already.
Exiting towards the valley was a bustling crowd of confusion and chaos. My inner voice like Sméagol from Lord Of The Rings “we hateses the filthy crowds, we hateses them.” Yet through those crowds we managed to see Ansel Adams Gallery, the famous lodges, and of course the magnificent water falls.
Over and over I’d frame a shot only to have someone step into it for the sake of a selfie. Set up a nice camera on a carbon fiber tripod and droves of smart phone wielding lemmings will take pics of what ever your pointing at.
The following morning we entered the park before sunrise. The valley not yet awake bathed in the sun’s warm rays. A sight I will probably never have the privilege of seeing again.
Through a silent and serene setting we walked among the tall grasses of the valley floor. The cool morning dew sat as a calm blanket upon all the sun touched. Time seemingly irrelevant slowed as every twisting pondering thought and worry faded from my mind. A mind often filled with scenarios, investment options, and countless obsessions and whimsies. Yet within that beautiful silent valley every neuron focused on the moment. Like a dream or a memory too good to be true, I could have stayed there forever.
Alas all things have their season and the poorly driven, rental Rv’s and large crowds were soon to arrive. However, we’d had (our moment), our Yosemite experience. Sure the rest of the day was crowded and loud, but that sense of peacefulness held.
In that valley I was reminded that authentic peace isn’t about circumstances, scenery, granite walls, waterfalls, or blue skies. Real peace comes from within, granted during those rare instances when you choose to ignore what you can’t fix. Purging all thought of worry, fear, and titles.
So many of our friends and family in Texas have lost their homes, cars, and possessions to flooding as a result of hurricane Harvey. It’s heart breaking to see ones life’s memories stacked in a wet ruined pile on the front lawn. There aren’t words to make this better. But, I believe real peace comes from letting go of what you can’t control, trusting others, loving those in need, and knowing it is always darkest before the dawn. The sun will rise and those rays of light will also fall warmly upon this valley. God’s speed my friends!
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