The thing about mountaintops is you can’t stay there too long. There comes a time when you have to leave the awe-inspiring landscape behind for another, less magnificent view. Like the mountain of laundry overflowing from the hamper. Or the colorful vista of dishes in the sink. Or the panoramic scenery of toys strewn across the living room floor.
I recently returned from a mountaintop of my own—a writers’ conference not far from where I live, giving me the luxury of commuting the short distance rather than staying on campus. While others enjoyed a much-needed escape from the daily grind, I had the benefit of returning each night to a house full of responsibilities. At least it made the last-day transition more bearable. It wasn’t such a shocking jolt back into reality when the glorious mountaintop vista finally faded from view.
As hard as it can be to face daily life after being immersed in something more appealing, reality can teach us something most mountaintops can’t. Especially if you’re a writer. The greatest of words flow from the humblest of circumstances, from the grit of everyday living. We can’t write what we haven’t lived, and if we haven’t lived. Yes, there’s life on the mountaintop. But there’s wisdom in the monotony of the valley that can’t be gleaned from anywhere else.
I’m grateful for the mountaintops. But I’d get bored if I had to live there. Give me a rugged terrain, filled with highs and lows and in-betweens. There, I find life. And there, I find words.