Too many days the walls inched closer and the oxygen level dropped to the point of fuzzy, frustrated thinking. I couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t face another day of throttling the urge to scream. I couldn’t bear the thought of putting in more hours at work only to have it chase me home and point out all the areas I was struggling to hang on.
There was no fight left in me. So I fled.
I made for the hills. Or at least the rocks. The red ones.
Somehow when life felt like a game of bowling with boulders—and I was one of the pins—escaping up to the desert canyons saved me. The quiet, the stillness, the colors, the sound of pebbles crunching underfoot and my own labored breathing reminded me I was alive. I was more than a job. I was more than failed intentions. I was more than a body going through motions and an internal critic screaming, “I don’t belong here.”
Surrounded by the enormity of nature I could gain perspective. Today would soon be yesterday. These rocks would remain. The frustrations threatening to overwhelm me faded in a landscape subsisting on the scarcest traces of water.
Away from the voices—mostly my own—questioning me, doubting me, demanding of me . . . and away from the Sisyphean tasks of teaching, I could breathe. My eyes could rest on beauty. My body could sweat out the stress and draw in new energy. My ears could hear peace and translate it for my soul.
No problems were solved. No epiphanies manifested before me. No circumstances changed. But the stillest of voices spoke through my senses: “In the refuge of the rock you are no more and no less safe than in the midst of your every day. I will never leave you.”