Posted by: kathryngraves | March 21, 2017

Thin Air

Christmas in the Mountains

Last Christmas we went to Colorado to spend the holiday with Jeremy, his wife Glen and Carson. Our present from them was a ski trip to Steamboat Springs. Driving in the car on the way, Jeremy told me I might find the mountain a bit easier because its elevation is not as high as where we usually ski in Summit County.

He was right, and he was wrong. The lower elevation did help my oxygen level, but the runs seemed steeper than I expected. I’m what they call a “blue cruiser.” I like mid-level difficulty slopes and I do not like moguls. Those are snow bumps that one must ski through. There is usually no “around” route. (For the uninitiated, greens are easiest, then blue, then blacks are most difficult or expert. Signs on the mountain tell skiers which trails are which.)


Carson at Steamboat Springs

We did have a wonderful time, and I even managed to navigate a few moguls and not hate them. Carson is seven years old, and I cannot keep up with him anymore. He prefers blacks and moguls. And speed. Because he lives in Denver, he is used to the altitude. I live in the prairie closer to sea level.


For a flat-lander, there is nothing more (literally) breath-taking than standing at the top of a mountain with the rest of the world below. The beauty of such a vista is incredible. I know why pleasant experiences are often referred to as “mountain-top” experiences. It just doesn’t get any better.


View from Pikes Peak     Photo: Kathryn Graves

But valley views can also be quite dramatic. Gazing up at a majestic mountain from the valley floor is another sort of beauty extravaganza. And it is easier to breathe the oxygen-rich air of the valley.

I am willing to brave the thin air for a chance to see the world from up there. It almost seems like an invisible bungee cord pulls me toward mountains.

Thin Air Experiences

Writing and painting are two other thin-air experiences for me. I hone my craft at each in the hopes of greater satisfaction, and yes, thrill, at the completion of a project. It’s not easy, and there are times I think the way is “steeper” than I anticipated. I’m still a “blue-cruiser” but I’m working to conquer the more expert terrain.

The key is to keep writing and painting. The more often I practice, the better I become. Carson is a good skier at a young age because he goes often and has good teachers in his parents. My mentors also give me priceless guidance.

What About You?

What gives you that breath-taking, thin-air feeling? I want to encourage you, even challenge you, to pursue it. Practice it. Beauty is more than what we can sense in a physical way.

The thrill of conquering a challenge is a beautiful thing.


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