This past weekend I spent the night on Mt. Timpanogos, the second highest peak in Utah with an elevation of 11,749 ft. After climbing to the top, I began my descent at sunset to find a place to camp. With the sun now set behind the mountain, I made my way in the twilight through the meadows a thousand feet below the summit where I was only an hour earlier. As I reached the south end of the meadow, I could still see the mountains in front of me lit with silver light. After a few more steps, I was surprised as a nearly full moon gradually rose above the cliffs causing me to stop for a moment and wonder. Here I was, high in the Uinta Forest with nothing but a small pack, water, and some food. Alone. (Don't tell mom.) I realized that I was in a fragile position. There was such a vast expanse around me. I could see the twinkling light of Heber City far in the distance. I was only a matter of miles from civilization, and yet, in the middle of untamed nature I was not in control. I could not dictate what would happen, but would have to accept my surroundings. Ironically, that was a comforting thought.
It is apparent to me that we have built up a false sense of security in our buildings and technology which we think allow us to control our destiny and surroundings. I suppose that is true, at least on a temporary basis. It only takes a small shift in perspective to realize that our position is not one that is sustainable. While my experience in the mountains was less dramatic than it may sound (Mt. Timp is visited by hundreds of people a day), this video paints a much more drastic picture of where we stand in the true perspective of nature. My camp in the meadow was a small piece of land compared to the wilderness surrounding it, and even smaller when you consider the vastness of the earth. Our earth, however, is an even less significant body floating in the expanse of space, which we cannot even fathom.