Whenever I hike in mountains, I feel this incredible spiritual connection to everything around me. Today, as we climbed the Primorsky mountains, I couldn’t help but think about how tiny I am and how these mountains and lake could just swallow me up, but I kept thinking about the love I have for so many people in my life and the love I feel from them and how significant I am even in these majestic mountains. I also noticed something about myself — I was very wary of certain steps I took while climbing and was more unsure of each step. I compared that to my life. When we are children, we are so certain of ourselves so confident of every step we take. As we get older, we have experiences that make us doubt ourselves, trust less and think twice before making a decision. Although the climb was only a few hours, the steps were challenging for me and I don’t think it all had to do with the tight jeans I was wearing! I found myself not trusting my footholds, especially where the dirt was wet and the slope went straight down into Lake Baikal.
Mountains are so overwhelmingly beautiful. I kept looking at the birch trees sticking out of these massive cliffs with the background of Lake Baikal, a lake which is so large and so deep it could supply the entire world with water for 40 years.
I am thoroughly enjoying feeling this close to God every day. What a blessing to be here in Siberia, climbing mountains, eating acorn nuts, fish we picked out at the market to eat later on the train and solanka soup (a soup created during harder times where you could put whatever you could find in your fridge in the soup–lemon, meat, olives, tomato paste, sausage).
We’re leaving Siberia in a few minutes and heading to Ulan Bator, Mongolia tonight, so I won’t be online for a couple of days. I enjoyed my Russian experience. I have to admit, I was a bit worried with coming here, but it exceeded my expectations; however, my ideas about communism were even more confirmed. The host of our hostel told us the soviets destroyed 23 of the 30 churches in Irkutsk. He described the 70 years of communism like this: “Imagine a top model who is beat up by hooligans — that is what happened here.” To expand on that, just like the model has to wait for the bruises to disappear, Russia has to wait for their bruises and both will remember their history and be a little less trusting.
I leave to catch my transiberian train with one last saying I was taught: “It’s better to oversleep than underdrink.” :o)