I wrote this before the attacks on Paris. I wrote this when I felt far removed from war and terrorism and hate. And today, in the wake of the Paris attacks, feeling sick at the idea of people being killed while they were eating and dancing and living, I’m having a hard time feeling this way again.
And so I’m posting this because I think it’s important, even more than when I wrote it, to see the beauty around me, to see the beauty through the darkness, through the pain and injustice and hatred.
My body isn’t in Paris, but my head, heart, and soul are.
Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” I think about this as I’m currently sitting halfway up one of the mountains in the Julian Alps, in the valley that inspired Hemingway to write A Farewell to Arms.
When I first started writing almost two years ago, this is exactly what I did; I bled onto paper, onto the computer screen. But, I think as I sit looking over the most gorgeous valley I have ever seen, I’m not bleeding anymore. I’m healing. I may even be healed. I don’t want to have to be sad to be able to write something beautiful, or to write at all.
And so, sitting where, or close to where, Hemingway sat, looking at the same mountains he looked at, I want to write about beauty.
Holy crap, there is so much beauty in this world.
Yes, there is pain, so much pain, and suffering, sadness, depression, war, death, loneliness.
But, God, the beauty. Like the way the light slowly comes over the mountains every morning, lighting up some trees and some boulders, and leaving others in the dark, creating a beautiful and striking contrast. Like the way these mountains seem to have risen out of nowhere, but really a glacier took hundreds of thousands of years to pass through to form them. Like how moss and trees find a way to grow on the edges of these rocky cliffs, without soil and in the harshest conditions, and yet they still find a way. Like the way sun streaks across the faces of the mountains creating an orange and yellow haze, making the mountains look dream-like, something you thought you’d only ever see in paintings. Like the way a single string of smoke rises from a house in the valley below bringing to mind the warmth of a wood burning stove, thick, wool blankets, and piping hot coffee. Like the way two old women who don’t speak English greet me warmly and point to the view with a smile, and I smile back, agreeing with the sentiment. Like the way my heart doesn’t feel shattered anymore, and hasn’t in a long time. And how amzing is that? That glaciers can move through stone to create mountains and broken hearts can be mended?