Last fall, we built railroad tie steps from our backyard up the steep slope of Mt. Windy. Last week, I bought a park bench to install there——
Because the area looks over the picturesque, green valley of Palo Duro Creek. And because it faces east, where I can be a daily witness to our signature West Texas sunrises.
Wallace Stegner was a Pulitzer Price winning author and avid environmentalist. Writing over 60 years ago, in a letter to protect the American wilderness, he said there are places that are “good for spiritual health,” which contribute to “a geography of hope.”
According to Keith Basso in Wisdom Sits in Places, the Western Apaches had a similar view. These Native Americans saw their lands (places) as “a part of us as we are a part of them.” Riding horses through their traditional tribal lands, one of them described the rough, barren country like this: “Not may cows but many good places. Try to hold on to them.”
In my forthcoming book, I argue that we retirees need contact with such places (whether we own them or not).
Anyway, I’m counting on Mt. Windy to be one of those spots for me, although, as the name implies, and the fluttering pages of this legal pad demonstrate, it’s not the place that will be hard to hold. It’s hard to blog on Mt. Windy.