This may be one of my favourite stories I've told.
I remember writing it 2016, while staring at the three sisters mountain range, in Canmore, Alberta. The memory brings me peace. And what I wrote resonates with me because lately, I've felt this need very deeply:
The need for silence.
That need might resonate with you, too. So I'm sharing this story again today — along with my permission (not that you need it) to seek out a little silence for yourself.
Does your story need some silence?
This week, I’ll be camping and hiking in the backcountry of the Canadian Rockies.
Mountain backcountry is a great place for storytelling. Not just because we’ll have a campfire or two. Not just because of the adventure. (Previous reports of me fighting off a bear with my left hook were greatly exaggerated.)
But because of the quiet.
Suddenly, amid the power of mountains that are so much bigger than you, something inside falls silent.
Words are noticeably absent.
And that is a very good thing.
The best stories can come from meeting our own speechlessness.
If you’re struggling to put words to something that feels wordless, if you're trying to talk about something that feels indescribable, one answer may be... to wait.
Don’t rush to tame the feelings with your words. Just be there. Meet the story as it is happening.
Sit with a quiet so powerful that it lays your mind down like a sleepy child for a nap.
Be with the beauty around you that is so sweet and gentle it hurts.
Hold the pain like a still object in your hands.
Feel that love that has no business being described.
Speechlessness is a very good thing for stories because it means something is happening. In time, the words will settle within you. In time, you’ll tell them. In time, you’ll share and make something marvellous.
But for now, just be here.
Because stories don’t exist without someone there to live them first.
"Things are not as easily understood nor as expressible as people usually would like us to believe. Most happenings are beyond expression: they exist where a word has never intruded." -- R.M. Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet