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At the Top of the Mountain

For 25 years, my grandmother sat and looked up at the Grand Teton Mountains. She would sit for hours just enjoying the view. The mountains were a blessing to her. In my 21 years of coming to Jackson Hole, I never quite understood what the mountains really meant. I wrote a college essay about them, I skied down them, I have even seen the tippy top. And it is only until recently that I have realized, I never understood them.

I now understand what is so peaceful about looking up to the top of the mountain – looking up. Looking up beyond what the physical eye can see. Looking up feeling relief. Looking up and knowing there is more. Using my imagination and thinking about everything that could possibly be up there just waiting for me to explore. Beyond the peak I see hope, I see the future. It brings a whole new sense to the word adventure, being able to imagine it, but actually having no idea what was in store.

A mountain is strong, it is stubborn. The base is wide and covers a lot of ground, but the peak is smaller and only known to a select few. Each twist and turn creates a path up the mountain, each bend and wood unique to the next. The mountain is made up of a lot of dirt, tiny rocks, sprouts, trees, bushes, flowers, animals, homes, you name it. It welcomes all kinds life that wants to inhabit it. A mountain is standing still, but it never stops moving.

On top of the mountain is the snow. Almost year round in Jackson there is snow. The gentle, fragile, sparkling formations that fall from the sky so lightly and elegantly. Each fleck different than the next, landing in a spot that to the human eye seems completely random. The absence of color in the fleck leaving it pure. Endless quantities of snow cover the wide open spaces.

And as I look up to the top of the mountains, I still think of her. I understand her. I know the feeling of looking up and seeing more. Seeing hope and seeing the future. At the top of the mountain is the unknown, the interest, the beyond. Grandma was never afraid of the future or what came next. She didn’t let something as tall as a mountain stop her.

Grandma is a mountain. And while I would never say that to her face in case of wrongful understanding, she is. She has fulfilled her wish of going up. Beyond the mountains, beyond what the eye can see, beyond the physical world. She has made it to the highest point a person can go. That’s grandma, always getting her way.