Using the Mountains for a Re-start

View of Pisgah National Forest, specifically Looking Glass Rock and Cedar Mountain (Photograph: Ross Peters)

“I will lift up mine eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help.” Psalm 121.

A couple of times a year I reach a point where I become tired beyond the remedy of a single night’s sleep. This is how I feel today. If sleep is the ultimate passive way to recover from tiredness, these particular moments require a more active recovery strategy. I need a recharge, a reset, a full restart. An extra nap, while tempting, does not fit the bill.

Fortunately, I know the approach I will take this weekend, and I am certain it will be successful. Tomorrow, my wife, daughter and I will head to the North Carolina mountains.  Only a couple of hours away, this high ground has always and will always provide the sort of existential recovery I seek. Being in such a lovely locale (even in the rain that is forecast) has the power overcome the exhaustion I feel. Sharing the journey with my family only makes it better.

I wonder why this is true and why I am so confident in its truth. Perhaps the answer comes from another RE-word: re-center. By the time I turned fourteen or so, the mountains had come to represent a place where I built my perspective and where my sense of self was sustained and bolstered. Down below I could lose my perspective and forget what was important. Somehow in the mountains I felt more centered.

My current sort of tired sort is not directly related to hours of sleep lost—it is, I believe, more borne out of a temporary loss of perspective on what is most important. Normal recovery from tiredness involves closing our eyes—in this case, however, it involves opening them.

4 thoughts on “Using the Mountains for a Re-start

  1. admiral17 April 2, 2012 / 6:44 am

    While some find what they need up high, Ishmael, “I must go down to the sea again.”

    • J Ross Peters April 5, 2012 / 10:21 pm

      As I mentioned to you in the hall, I call our difference here the difference between Jimmy Buffet and Ralph Stanley.

  2. glichtman April 2, 2012 / 10:01 am


    Thanks for the remote transport to the mountains on your side of the country. What is it about dirt under one’s feet and a big sky over one’s head that brings us back to that center? Why do we reserve short times on brief school breaks to expose our students to what we know is such a critical part of our collective perspective? I think perhaps with this gentle nudge from you I will head north or east this week and find some similar altitude and attitude…

    • J Ross Peters April 5, 2012 / 10:22 pm

      Grant, I hope you found your way toward thinner air. Thanks for commenting–I look forward to reading your own blog posts!

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