A Family Pilgrimage to the High Sierras
By: Kelly Sutton of Horse & Feather
“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, as vital to our lives as water and good bread.” ~Edward Abbey
On a mid-summer’s day, with the sun high in the sky, we headed up into the High Sierras to retrace the steps of another long ago family pilgrimage. A world away, seven thousand feet into the atmosphere, where the sky is bluer, the air is cleaner, the sun is brighter, the trees are greener, children are happier and life is easier. Where it all feels like a dream.
We wandered into the wilderness with only “ducks” left like a trail of bread crumbs to guide our way, and help us return home again. There’s an overwhelming sense of peace and freedom that comes in those moments released from the tether of the world’s expectations. We breathed it all in deeply, wishing silently that this is how we could stay from this moment forward–lost on the side of mountain with our true loves at our sides. Why does this have to be a dream we visit during a weekend away from that other world? Why can’t we stay in this moment forever?
No one was so lost in love for this place as our littlest loves. Never before had they experienced such freedom. Here standing by the lake, they had nowhere to be, but in the soft, sandy footprints exactly where they were already resting their toes. They felt the quiet of now, and the gentle wildness of the wind carrying away all memories of frustrations. Their concerns were only with the search for a perfectly round, smooth rock that would hop, hop, hop across the water to set a new record, and fill them with a swell of pride. In this moment we were all infallible. And again, we silently wished to call this a forever place, where our littlest forever loves could rest their light hearts before they grow heavy with life. To save them from future worries, and keep them here in this moment, wild and free.
Like the soft rocks carried away from the water’s edge in little pockets, we also carried a piece of the peace with us back down the mountain. That small rubbing stone of lost, wild, and free will have to sustain us, until we can retrace our own family pilgrimage, once again.
37.2317° N, 119.2358° W
Kelly, of Horse & Feather Photography, is a Southern California native, raising her two sweet boys, with her best friend and husband, in the same neighborhood where she also grew up, just north of Los Angeles. She has fallen in love with natural light photography, and strives to document the timelessness of childhood, as well as the silliness, adventures, and non-stop energy that being a mom to two boys brings. If she’s not taking pictures of her family, she’s probably drinking coffee or eating ice cream, and listening to NPR. Facebook | Website | Instagram