Writing and photos by Matt Mittan
(Inspired by, and documented within, Mt Mitchell State Park, NC. Most of the photos were taken along the Balsam Trail around the Summit of Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River.)
Something happens at 6,000 ft…
The trees crawl like snails across the forest floor.
Softly, slowly, intentionally hugging the passive stones as they seek damp rays of sunlight peaking through the heavy, dark evergreen canopy air.
Songbirds hide their heavenly serenades until a visitor has made good on a committed payment of silent time, sitting frozen and still.
Upon fulfillment of that debt they will happily begin to sing a tapestry of Morse code that is easily received and applied to the moment by your softened spirit.
To walk through this majestic Eden in haste is akin to sitting beneath a splendid sunset with your eyes fixed upon your feet.
You must move slow. You must think slow. And you must allow yourself to grow by mere molecules at a time, as does the vegetation beneath the moss covered logs.
Here, in this world that time forgot, even a simple blade of grass can define and forge the shape of larger living things.
Don’t speak. Focus your energies and absorption within your other senses. Listen deeply.
Feel the earths breath on your skin. Decipher and retain the smells carried by the thin air breeze.
Pay attention to the spaces you see between the shadows and the light.
The mountain will reward you with humility, perspective, inspiration and rejuvenation.
This is what happens at 6,000 ft.
By reaching the summits of the land you can unlock the depths of your soul.
That’s when you truly begin to live.
~ Copyright 2015, Matt Mittan, Asheville, NC