I have had this need building up for about three days. The need for some peace and quiet. Some space. Some time when no five-year-old was constantly talking about Pokemon or Star Wars and no one-year-old was pushing on my legs, trying to coax me into holding him way up high so that he could inspect the smoke alarms on the ceiling (it’s a new obsession of his).

I just…needed…to breathe.

Please, please, please do not take me for an ungrateful Mom. An unloving Mom. Or even an I-can’t-stand-to-be-around-my-kids-all-day Mom. Because I love them wholly, completely, fiercely, and unconditionally. For some reason, I just needed a break. And my, oh my, did it show. Here’s how it went down:

Hank: “Would you like some time to yourself today?”

Me: “YES!” (without ANY hesitation, that answer came bulleting out – shocked me.)

Hank: “Then you should.”

Me: sounds of the wind whipping through because I was already jetting up the stairs to change into hiking shoes and grabbing my favorite hat and my camera bag.

When I sat in my car and turned the key, I realized that I had really been thinking about this moment, this escape for just a few hours. I had only been considering going shopping, even window shopping, all alone and without having to chase down anyone or feed or water anyone or change anyone’s diaper or even needing to talk to anyone. But when the time came, all I wanted to do was to be outside, in the mountains, with my camera.

And that’s what I did. I drove to Eldorado Canyon, just south of Boulder and found myself driving down the road past the ashram where I did my yoga teacher training. At the end of the road I parked, pulled my hair into pigtails, and put on my cowboy hat. I chose a spot where very few people seem to park and head up the trail, but I never suspected the biggest treat of all: I didn’t see anybody else on the trail today. That NEVER happens here. At least, it’s never happened to me. Sometimes our trails are more littered with people than the mall. It’s ridiculous and awesome all at once.

I headed up the trail with my camera bag/backpack on (extra batteries and lenses in there), my bottle of water bouncing rhythmically on the back, and my camera slung around my neck. Here’s what I saw.

Yucca pods. Aren’t they weird?

And tall grasses. Now, those of you in tall grassy places, like Oklahoma, see these daily. I miss tall grasses. To me, when the wind blows them back and forth, they sound watery. Peaceful. And they make me pause and turn inside, always with a small smile on my face and more than a little lift in my heart. They make me happy. Really happy.

This made me happy, too. A hiker girl sign. Well, I guess it could be a guy with a ponytail; we are in deep hippie-ville. But I think if it was a guy, the ponytail would be lower. But then, if it was a girl, would she have boobs? Oh jeez. I don’t know.The darn thing is about dogs, anyway…

And this just made me plain laugh out loud like a crazy person.

I spied the ashram from up there. The building to the right, the dome, is the meditation house. To the right is the yoga practice building. I totally felt like a peeping Tom for a minute (especially since I had changed my lens to the super zoom one), and then I just imagined that I was a spy, like Jason Bourne. Because I’m ripped like that. And those yogis are a sinister bunch of ninjas.

And then I was here.

This bunch of rocks is so interesting in the way that it just busts out of the Earth, all sideways and blocky (the view below, by the way, is looking straight up),

And they kind of disorient me when I look too closely; I can’t tell which way is up or down or this side or that.

Some of the most brilliant colors are here from leached minerals.

It makes me wonder what I’m even looking at.

But I don’t wonder for one minute about how I feel.

Pretty sure this is what Peter Parker felt like when he found out he could climb buildings and sling webs.

Good thing no one else was around to see that. Good thing, too, that the hot springs below drowned out the whoop and holler, or else I might have found myself face-to-face with a search and rescue team or something.

But the best good thing?

I found my breath. And I took it home.