“A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand.
Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one
passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?”
As a young college freshman with a handsome boyfriend at an out-of-state school, I pined for my David. It was an era with no cell phones, no internet, and expensive long distance calling. Thus we kept in touch the old-fashioned way: by writing letters. In between monthly weekend visits and the occasional two-minute phone conversation, I would anxiously race to the mailbox in search of a letter. In those frequent missives would be descriptions of the mundane, philosophical commentaries, funny stories, dreams of the future, sincere encouragement, and yes, declarations of undying love. We were young, after all, and everything seemed possible except failure and loss.
As I made the daily trek to the mailbox one crisp, blustery fall day, a box awaited me from my love. My hands fumbled excitedly while tearing back the brown shipping paper. Cookies! It was a box of homemade, heart-shaped chocolate chip cookies! Tucked among the treats was the above quote by Kahlil Gibran. It helped me deal with the separation to know that he was thinking of me from far away. (By the way, if you ever ask David about this sweet incident, he will deny any knowledge of it. He doesn’t want to get a reputation, you know.)
Mountains have always meant something to me. I only had seen mountains in pictures until I was 16 years old. I remember driving on a family vacation to Colorado and seeing mountains for the first time in the distance. We had driven all night to get there, so my first sighting occurred as the sun was rising. It took my breath away, and upon glimpsing the glorious landscape I began to believe that God could actually be real. The mountains were inspiring. At other times the mountains in my life have been hardships, immovable obstacles, or seemingly insurmountable tasks that challenged me and left me struggling to catch my breath.
It was only fitting that when David and I reunited after decades apart, our renewed journey together would begin in the mountains. At 8800 feet above sea level in the Rocky Mountains of Estes Park, we recounted our long history and said our own vows 27 years after the heart-shaped cookies. We had come full circle, and this mountain was awe-inspiring.
As I wrote seven months ago, we’ve been working on our master bedroom addition. It’s been quite a mountain to climb! Except for a few doors that need to be painted, it is finished! It is bittersweet knowing that as the last piece of flooring was laid and furniture was moved in, our son-in-law Walter didn’t get to see the result of his labors on this place; however, we smile each time we see his handy work. As we began the fun part (for me) of construction, once again we looked to the mountains for inspiration. I wanted the vibe of the new space to be serene-comfy-cabin-cottage-zen meets rustic-masculine-industrial-glam. It makes perfect sense, right? While combing magazines and Pinterest for ideas, I came across this gem online:
Immediately it whispered “peaceful” to my soul and reminded me of this terrestrial, tumultuous, exhilarating odyssey upon which we have embarked. I’m no artist, but I knew that this pilgrimage must begin with paint. After many trips, paint chips, and coffee sips, I ended up with no less than 19 sample paint colors. That’s 19 colors for real, people! In case you haven’t figured this out, I’m one of those people who must see all the possibilities before making a choice. Case in point:
I knew I wanted a soothing blue and gray array of colors reminiscent of sky and mountains, but pinning down 8 coordinating mountain colors plus one sky hue didn’t prove to be as easy as selecting one paint chip with varying saturations. After much trial and error, I landed on this color combo:
From top to bottom, the colors are: Gray Owl (Benjamin Moore), Silver Strand (Sherwin Williams), Argos (SW), Cobblestone Arch (SW), Gray Matters (SW), City Scape (SW), Web Gray (SW), Navy Seawall (SW), and Iron Ore (SW).
Our mountain mural is finished. I love the way the sunlight hits it in the morning. I love the soothing colors that became the pallet for the whole bedroom. I love how it represents our past. I even love how it mirrors our present and future as we continue to climb new heights, get fresh perspective, and experience some craggy, rough valleys. It’s our grown-up version of cookies and love letters; I’ll most certainly take it.