Yesterday, I went for a really long, much needed drive. It’s something I used to do in Logan when my heart felt heavy and I wanted the loudness of my music and the quiet rhythm of the road to help me sort things out for a while. Sometimes I would leave my apartment late at night, start up the engine and drive to small-town Preston of all places – just to get out of the city, away from my roommates and distractions, and allow myself to think beneath the light of the moon and stars. Other times, I’d let my car take me through Logan Canyon. I’d follow the river and maneuver around the curves surrounded by green and rocky walls in the summer and warm-colored leaves in the fall. I’d go all the way to Bear Lake just to see that clear, blue water, put my feet in the sand, and attempt to let go of my troubles.
I don’t really take drives like that anymore. It’s not necessarily because I don’t need them, but because I never really looked for a new road since I moved. But yesterday. Yesterday, I decided I needed to go somewhere that would remind me that I’m small, and compared to so many people around the world, my problems are, too. So, after work as the January sun began to set and a glow started over the city, I began driving to the other side of the mountains that I’ve come to love here. I drove, and drove, and drove.
I knew right where I was going when I started, and when I saw the sign for the Crest, I made a left turn and started on that 14-mile road that goes straight up the Sandias around dozens of curves and bends. Similar to how I was feeling, everything seemed to be slightly draped in blue. Every once in a while, I could get a glimpse through the darkened, tree silhouettes and I’d see more blue mountains in the distance with snow on their peaks. I listened to country music – no songs in particular – and thought about the things in life that didn’t feel right. I passed the beginnings of some of my favorite trails, the sledding area, the ski resort. This road was somewhat haunting and beautiful at the same time, and I kind of just let my thoughts run as my heart began to ache.
Things will never be as they were.
I’ve made it through the hardest year of my life so far, but this January felt colder than normal, grayer than usual, and while I can’t believe there’s only one week left already, this month has also felt long. I think this is the nature of Januarys. They are harsh, and frozen, and slow.
When I reached the Crest, there was snow all over the ground and it was so cold I knew I’d only stay a few minutes. I parked and quickly trudged through some of that snow in the boots my dad gave me last Christmas so I could see the last bit of the sunset’s glow over the city. I tried to take in the colors … the ocean blue at the top of the sky, and the way it faded to yellow, with pink strips running through it. Lights were beginning to twinkle throughout Albuquerque. People were going about their lives. The mountains to my left were stacked in the distance with trees and bushes poking through the crisp, white snow. My fingers began to sting as I took pictures of the scene, knowing they would never do justice, and then I began to breathe deeply. I thought about breathing in the good, and exhaling the bad. I slowly opened and closed my eyes, trying to focus on how I’m just one life in all this madness – how the world is big, and how my sadness and failures are contained to a small space in my heart. There are so many other things out there. There are those twinkling city lights, and millions of people, and the colors in the sky. The universe is filled with miracles and tragedies, and while I’m a part of that, I’m a small part.
Sometimes it’s good to feel small. It’s good to stand on top of a mountain at sunset and remember that the world is big – that it will keep changing and glowing, and so will you.