I had the privilege of leading a workshop in Boulder, Colorado this past weekend. I had never visited that part of Colorado before, and I was blown away by the beauty of the landscape; the mesas and red rocks jutting up out of the mid-western plain like sentinels guarding.
It reminded me profoundly of growing up in the Chugach Mountains, in my home town of Eagle River, Alaska. While I can see mountains from my current home, they’re off in the distance, on the other side of Puget Sound from us.
I noticed right away how different the feeling was, between watching the ocean and its moods every day, versus the stalwart presence of the Rocky Mountains. It got me thinking, as I spoke about myth, creativity, and how our stories influence who we are and what we create. The ocean is a part of who I am and how I tell my story, particularly to myself, but the mountains are a part of my creation myth, one might say. In the workshops we talk about our origins, about how the myths that we were born into can affect our perceptions of ourselves and our work, and by examining them we can decide if those stories still serve us.
The landscape that formed us is the unspoken presence in those stories. The times I spent in the Alaskan bush are an important part of my mythos, as are the times I spent in regular American suburbia. They are all a part of my story, which is a core part of my being. How did the landscape you grew up in become a part of you? If you choose to live elsewhere as an adult, have you noticed a change in your story as your landscape changed? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.