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It’s easy to see why so many cultures throughout history have revered high places.
From above, life looks a lot different. The little things don’t seem to matter as much, and most of them are nothing more than slight inconveniences anyway. With your head in the clouds, it’s hard not to experience a numbing sense of gratitude for being given the gift of life. It is, after all, a gift; none of us are entitled to it.
My husband and I spent one morning of our vacation exploring Haleakalā National Park, where we eventually looked down into the volcanic crater that was responsible for forming portions of the island of Maui. Let’s just say that at 10,000 feet in elevation, the world seems a lot smaller. It’s humbling because it reminds us that we aren’t the center of the universe; we share the universe with countless other living things.
The drive up took us through as many ecological zones as a drive from Mexico to Canada. The terrain was rocky and desolate with a few green plants peppered across the steep hillside. The endangered Haleakalā ʻāhinahina, often referred to as Silversword, reminded me a lot of the Yucca and Agave with its spiky, sword-shaped leaves.
Around one of the many sharp turns a beautifully colored pheasant took his sweet time crossing the road in front of us, and I must admit that I was a little jealous of his complete disregard for time. I’m sure he had an agenda, but he was clearly pacing himself.
Seeing the bigger picture isn’t always easy, especially if you don’t have an accessible mountain, but setting aside time for solitude and reflection can serve the same purpose.
When we care for ourselves, we’re better equipped to care for the other living things we share the earth with.