Lessons of Sunlight…

Erin Schaden
4 min readJun 6, 2024

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The sun stretched long across the canyon walls, it just like that sometimes, you just have to get out and up and away from all the life you have, a change of scenery, away from all the things that you worked so hard to have in your life, but sometimes the feeling that these things you worked so hard to get now own you, plagues you. And you work for them and not you anymore. And so with increasing frequency, I feel the urge, no the need to escape all the things that hold me down that tether me to a life that I love, that I have worked so hard to provide.

But just like the sunlight that dies on the canyon walls, at least for today, I too will rise again tomorrow, brilliantly bursting into tomorrow when dawn breaks. But tonight, I wear myself out in the elements, I throw myself across the canyon in some futile attempt to out run the sun. To push and stretch and reach beyond the limits of myself, of this life, this life I love but feel so trapped by…life that is mine completely, totally but often, so very often feels like it belongs to someone else, other than me.

So on this evening, as the sun departs, I drive up and away. There are just things I can know at 4000 feet, that are not available to me at lower altitudes. It is like I ascend toward the Divine, and while I will not ever reach those heights, except in death, I can, at least pretend for a moment, well really own the moment where I drive up and away, far from all that has become the intimate familiar that I so very often fail to appreciate, fail to acknowledge and fail to accept. But sometimes, at 4000 feet watching the sunlight play its way out of this day, or perhaps on my descent as I sit next to a rushing stream, I will find a renewed purpose to this life and living. You see this is always here for you, this great beyond, this great away, it exists regardless of whether you come to pray, to worship its rivers, its canyons, it flower scented air. It is here, always, it is only you that come and go.

And while I cannot remain forever, at least not yet, being here, in the wild outside, as day cedes control to night, I am reminded that life is ever changing and nothing can ever really be known, because it is always changing, constantly shifting and readjusting to the new that is ever present.

I know that my life is changing, I can feel myself being ushered from one stage of life to the other. And while there is this great impatience within me, I can also see, and feel and almost touch, this great resistance to what is coming, this time where my children leave and move away and my parents wither and die. And I am left alone, to live this life, with no daily structure, no outside accountability except, the mountain told me today that it shall always be here for me. And the hillside echoed a similar refrain. And the stream spoke of healing waters and bathing currents that will wash away the tears when they come. And the great wild outside told me that I shall be ok, with the change, with whatever unfolds, be it solitude or love or loss or gain. I shall be just fine because this great magnificent other world remains a steadfast guardian of what is truly sacred in this life…the present moment where you understand that life is just a bazillion tiny moments, strung together, outstretched over time, not unsimilar to the way the sun stretched long across the canyon this evening…we are here to live, to love, to rejoice and most profoundly to notice how it is to be alive, how it is to be here in this place, living this life. To create a space within you that loves, that heals, that laughs, that cries, a space within your own interior that can hold all the life you are privileged to enjoy…

And so often I can only find access to this place within me when I drive up and away from all that I know, or think I do. It is like the space within me that holds space for all this living is not available to me in the every day familiar. No, I must remove myself from all the constant strivings for my attention, in order to find my way back to the place within. It is like the wild is the key, the only key that can ever grant me access to this deep divinity inside…I must come here, in order to go there. And even though I carry it with me all times, I get burdened with the busy, consumed by the every day, so much so that I very often forget what a joy it is to be alive. Until I sit on the side of a mountain tall, and watch the sun stretch long across the canyon walls…then I remember, again, still.

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Erin Schaden

Who am I? I am all that I write, all that I learn, share and grow. Read and find out? Check out www.nakedrandomthoughts.com for more.