natural lake simplicity

I recently hiked sixteen miles round-trip in the backcountry of Mammoth. Not alone — I’m not that brave — but with my boyfriend. I carried my gear and a thudding heart. I know we’ve all heard these stories before, it’s not that wild anymore, but I still needed to remind myself how little we really need. Because what if this was all there was? Just a heavy pack and hot breath and the crystalized sun. And him, this beautiful person that chose me. I remember thinking:

Why should anything be more than this? A world with me and you.

Driving down the highway, we passed sharp peaks, these silhouetted mountains deep purple in the dark. Layered skies. A trillion stars. With our headlights racing road lines, I wondered, does there always have to be more more more?

In the early hours half shadows folded over the ridgeline. The water was bright amber, a striking gold. The high pines flickered with first sun and I still don’t understand why we make it so easy for ourselves to forget any connection to this life and each other. How is busy better than breathtaking? What if we only overwhelmed ourselves with love and awe and this moment right now?

The uprooted trail was narrow and dusted, smelling of thick mint and honey. It was hard and steep and bare. What will we do with all this gaping space? What if we did nothing but feel astonished and lucky to exist in it? What if we felt this all the time?

And can’t that be ok? To stay? To stay still in a place that makes you remember all the good things come to those who hold the world closer?

We walked through flowers and untamed meadow. Butterflies winged in the shade. Waterfalls raged. White-capped buttes bordered the shore of this jewel-toned lake. Stark blue in the paused afternoon. Small waves pushed over pieces of earth that might never move. And can’t that be ok? To stay? To stay still in a place that makes you remember all the good things come to those who hold the world closer?

We used all of our bodies, the sticking bark and limestone bone of them, to get there and realize how similar our landscape is. We are vast and stuck and too stunning to describe. We are growing up and across. We are ruined and lasting and surviving and struggling. We are raw and alive and falling falling falling finite.

Aren’t we already so much?

Evening dappled against the mesh of our tent. The trees creaked from a runoff wind, getting colder. And we watched the day close her shining eyes. And we felt the night on our faces and we were wide-awake with the thrill that comes with being content for a change. I remember thinking:

Can this be what “enough” looks like?

What does “enough” look like for you today?

Image via Chelsie Autumn Photography


  1. This is absolutely beautiful. My husband and I make an effort to get out to the hills and up in high elevation every chance we can, I have felt those same feelings you describe. True life is found in simplicity, that is something I strive to live by. Seeing beauty in the daily mundane is the hard part.

  2. Thank you for these beautiful words. I’m learning each day that the desire for more worldly possessions is an ultimately unsatisfying pursuit.

  3. This is such a beautiful post. My laptop hasn’t been up to scratch lately and has forced me to not use it as often. There is so much to discover outside the world of Social Media etc. I think we lose site of this too often. We’re cluttered with the chaos of technology. Minimalism is so much better, there is beauty in simplicity!

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