A few weeks ago, I had sent my mom a text wondering if they were doing anything in memory of my brother. If they were not, I would go to Jackson Hole.
We decided on an adventure!
So, my mom, Juna and I headed for Jackson that week.
Just a little background for those uninformed; Rene is my little brother and a twin of Juna’s. A couple years ago, he moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to work at Jenny Lake Lodge. If you know this part of Wyoming well then you know the great benefits of working up there.
My brother was an avid adventure seeker which was why Jackson Hole was a great location for him to work. He was also a climber. Last year, he made a list of mountains he wanted to climb. Mt. Owen, one of the Grand Tetons’ Cathedral group, was the 17th he had summited that summer alone. That was also where his body was found four days after he was last seen.
Jackson Hole has always been the summer location for my family. My grandma used to live in Thayne so we stayed with her while we were up there. While it feels different now seeing those captivating yet intimidating mountains, we are still drawn to them.
Being up there wasn’t as difficult as I’d anticipated, but it wasn’t easy either. The first day we hiked, we started from Jenny Lake to Cascade Canyon and back which was 13 miles roundtrip. We had stopped at the Inspiration Point as well and that’s when the tears decided to make their appearances. There were mixed emotions. I was happy I was able to experience this trip because ever since I started college, I wasn’t doing as much outdoor activities. Even though I’ve never really gained interest in rock climbing, I enjoy climbing in general. Growing up in the Philippines, tree climbing was one of the things you needed to be able to do especially if you wanted to sneakily pluck fruits from your neighbors’ trees. In summary, the difference between me and my brother is that I’m a little less crazy…maybe?
In addition to that, I was overwhelmed with the environment I was immersed in. I was once again in awe of nature. I reflected. I talked to my Creator. Thanking Him. Praising Him for creating such a sight to behold. And I was talking to my brother at the same time…
I wanted to know how he felt when he found out it was going to be his last. Did he see then it was going to be his last? What did he see? Did God lift his soul before the impact? Did he think about how painful it was going to be for all of us? What is he doing now? I wanted to know how much happier he is.
These things going through my head with tears in my eyes. How could I not when it was long overdue? Being surrounded by nature comforts me and tells me ‘it’s okay, you can breathe now’. Because this is where I feel God the most. I feel closer to Him being in the mountains with the trees, lakes, etc. For me, the mountains are exactly how I picture God to be; majestic, beautiful, comforting, challenging, powerful and dangerous all at once. But one of the things that God is not is that He isn’t unforgiving. This is where I draw the line. We can all see the differences between Him and His creation. His creations are unforgiving. In a way, the mountains sing the songs of the sirens who draw you in and if you aren’t careful, it could be your end. The song that rings in your ears calling you towards the wild. (I know it’s a weird way to contrast two different things, but that’s all I can think of). As I’ve said, the mountains are both beautiful and dangerous all at the same time. But yet, people still walk towards it because it calls them…