During the same trip to Maui that I stole the coasters, I also stole one of their clouds. There was a sign at the visitor’s center at the top of Haleakala–Maui’s 10,000 foot volcano–that said it was illegal to take any vegetation or animal life from the national park, but it said nothing about the clouds–and don’t be deceived by the smallness of this bottle, there actually is a cloud in there.  While my brother and I set up camp alone in the expansive crater of the volcano the wind picked up and we saw a bank of clouds below us coming towards the mountain. I had just finished chugging the water that was in this bottle because the air is very thin at that elevation and dehydration can set on quickly, so as the cloud approached I held the empty bottle up in the air with the opening facing the oncoming cloud and after we were surrounded by the rushing cloud I brought the bottle down real fast and cranked the cap on tightly. The bottle was not compressed as it is now, but after we descended I pulled it out and noticed that the elevation change had crunched it.

I kept this bottle not to remember the beauty and wonder of that hike–I have pictures and other memories for that–but I kept it to remember the fantasy that was unlocked in that moment. Completely isolated in a desert above the clouds and probably delirious from the altitude, I felt anything was possible, even trapping a cloud in a bottle, and that is something I want to carry with me now: proper perspective unlocks my preconceived restrictions on what I think is possible which frees me to live boldly–to take risks that I would have otherwise thought silly or impossible. Whenever I get to a point that I feel confused or overwhelmed then it’s time to get up to 10,000 feet–metephorically speaking. Like when I’m trying to decide, Do I buy the Cheez-Its that are on sale, or do I put in the work to make them myself with that delicious new recipe my wife found? That’s when I need to get up to 10,000 feet, see the full picture, look at it from a different angle, and realize that I don’t need to have an anxiety attack in the cracker aisle–they’re just a snack.


~ by russell jander on January 23, 2012.

14 Responses to “Perspective”

  1. Haleakala is so high up that once our bag of potato chips exploded in the back seat. Gave us quite a scare. I loved this story about catching clouds 🙂 What a magical memory!

  2. I like the line where you contemplated of whether to buy Cheez-Its or to do it yourself with the recipe your wife found. Being a wife myself, I know how great and special she would feel if you choose the latter. Nice perspective! God bless you with while you write about the memories of each trinket that you’re about to let go. It’s all a matter of perspective – you will always have the memories engraved in your heart. 🙂

  3. Cheeze-its! Bags of ’em!!
    Just leave room for dinner…..

  4. Good golly, you write well AND you’re so descriptive in what you detail about the trinket! Love this!

  5. What a great metaphor – make sure and share that Cheez-it recipe…sounds intriguing.

  6. Wow, I feel like I am there with you-living the fantasy by again awakening to the truth that anything is possible. We can capture clouds, we can climb every obstacle.

    Thank you!

  7. Catching clouds and transforming perspective – that’s what I call living!

  8. I went there also a few years ago. Froze my buttocks off (I wish!) but the majesty of seeing the sunrise did put my little life in the proper perspective of appreciating all that is so much larger than the angst of buying Cheez-Its. Nice post!

  9. russell,
    You’re good.

    Keep writing!

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