What if the mountains really are calling?


Kiera Kemppainen

The view from halfway down the hill after a ski racing practice at Copper Mountain, Colorado.

“The mountains are calling, and I must go.” Yes, I must. 

I find peace in the brisk air. It fills my throat with ice after a run. My throat burns as I inhale more and more, trying to slow my heartbeat. So, I lie down, and inhale more, letting the burning fuel me. It feels cleaner and fresher than the air I breathe back home. This sensation is likely due to the cold, but it’s all the same. The air tickles my nose to make it run and bleed. It rushes across my face; it’s exhilarating—it’s home.

Home is snow. I feel serenity when I am surrounded by a mass of fluff. From far above, I always seem to forget that snow is, in fact, cold and not soft as a blanket. But it doesn’t stop me. I’ll lie down in the mass of white and let the phenomenon envelop me. And when it falls on me from the sky above, I’ll let it fill all the creases in my coat and watch as the wonder grows. It’ll fill my body with a newfound chill, but I’ll be thankful that it is growing the abundance on the ground.

Who am I to tell them no?

Home is altitude. It’s buying oxygen from grocery stores and souvenir shops, just in the hope of breathing. It’s headaches and a seasick feeling to be cured by the biggest pills known to mankind: altitude adjustment pills. As much as I hate them, it grows the experience. The altitude makes me grateful for the wonders it grows so high above sea level. The natural features so high up catch me in awe.

So I guess home is also the scenery. It’s no secret that mountainous regions are beautiful—I think it’s a well-known fact. The rocky facades half-covered in snow add texture to the sky’s backdrop. The conifer trees fill the ground. The snow partly blends with the sky and makes the whole area look blue and white, with the conifer trees almost making the illusion of being blue. 

This isn’t to say that mountains without snow don’t feel like home too. I somehow love the dead appearance. The dry, dry grass that most definitely looks dead fills the area. As I drive past, I’ll occasionally see “what’s the fire risk today” signs. As dangerous as the arid landscape makes it, I’ll love it, nonetheless.

So yeah, maybe the mountains are calling, and who am I to tell them no?