Blog: Digital Story Telling

Go to the Mountains
Tuesday, March 28, 2023 by Sue Halvorsen

Walking through the pine forest, years of stress began to drain from my body. This is
exactly why I planned this hike. How could I have forgotten that wilderness is my place
of restoration? For the past year, I had worked myself into a frenzy, caught up in a world
of isolation and doctor appointments. I was finding it hard to hear the voice of God. Friends saw my downward spiral and were worried.

“Go to the mountains,” my husband Scott said. “Find your path.”

As soon as he said the words, I knew that’s what I had to do. Now, breathing in the scent of pine is like breathing in new life. I could stay here forever.

I sit and lean my back against a pine tree. Then I close my eyes and let the sun dance
on my face. Summer in Rocky Mountain National Park is one of my favorite times to
view the Continental Divide and watch wildlife. And today does not disappoint.

Several hours pass as I calm my soul and reconnect with nature. A chipmunk runs
across my leg, totally unaware I am human. I think about the stress in my life and
silently pray for wisdom in making right choices. I’m afraid I will return home and end up
back in the same old grind. But such thoughts fly away when I see a large herd of deer
moving my way.

Curious eyes look right at me, but the deer still continue to come toward me. I don’t
move a muscle as they approach. The entire herd form a circle around me and lay
down. I can almost reach and touch them.

Their big brown eyes are inviting and, with pine scent drifting through the air, I realize I
have filled my life with busyness for way too long. This morning, I was seeking solitude,
fear had drenched my life, but in the middle of the herd, peace washes over me. Why
did they choose to bed down right here, next to me? I wonder. I decide it has to be a

After a while, the deer, as if by a hidden cue, all stand and start walking away, grazing
as they go. They are barely out of view when I hear stomping and snorting behind me. I
jump in response and turn to see a herd of unhappy elk. They are staring right at me,
hoofing the ground and letting me know I am invading their world.

I press hard against the tree, trying to melt into it, forcing myself to remain still and
hopefully nonthreatening, but the herd keep coming. They don’t back off. I hold my
breath as they near. Each one seems to be challenging me. With each stomp, I imagine
them saying, “Are you going to return to your old life?”

Every elk does the same thing while they pass me, but none of them attack. It is as if
they know that I belong here as much as they do.

After they pass, I let the air leave my lungs. I will not return to my old life as the same
stressed person. I vow to make room for time in nature so I can always hear the voice of

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