I  cannot urge you enough to drive in our beautiful northern mountains sometime.   It just builds and expands and enlivens someplace inside of you that you didn’t know you had.   Just don’t spend two weeks up there if your lungs are shredding.   (High altitude strikes unexpectedly, regardless of fitness or age or experience.)

Tunnel 650
I’ve spent a few days now, driving down from our high-altitude Western states, my destination being a very comfortable 800 feet.    I didn’t feel like taking many photos this time, but I couldn’t resist this tunnel.      They’re fun!    And a panoramic view of  reds and golds and ochres and umbers awaits once you get through.

And, of course, I thought, if I could just keep driving east and downward,  I’ll finally see the Light At The End Of The Tunnel.   I should feel better and start breathing again.

Son texted me some encouragement, saying,  “It’s all downhill from here.”   I was able to catch the humorous double meaning.   Oh, yes, I want that “downhill.”

Sometimes people in the Western states looked at me oddly when I said I live at 800 feet, almost like they couldn’t comprehend a “valley” so low,  but they were pretty understanding of the choking flatlander talking to them.   Some of them had gone through it themselves.   It’s pretty discouraging for a healthy person to experience, this altitude problem.

Then, I got another text from Son.    A photo this time:


There it is.  He’s showing me a little tomato growing on my back deck.   The tomato plants made it!   There’s MY  Light At The End Of The Tunnel!!    Not some half-remembered concept of home –  but an actual little green tomato waiting for me.

I won’t draw lessons for you about using a little humor to encourage your friends when they’re having some difficulty.   I won’t explain how using an incentive from their real lives has a stronger motivating power than platitudes, however true.   I’m sure you look for opportunities to build up your friends and family when they’re kind of drooping.   There are more ways to “expand and enliven that important someplace inside of you than to travel around the High Sierras and the High Rocky Mountain plateaus.

I’m still traveling eastward today, nearing the end of my journey.      I’ll just write that there is green at the end of my tunnel;   that little green tomato is growing.

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