I flew all the way to the Himalayas but what I found there is also in my own backyard.
Yosemite is like the girl next door. You don’t realize how beautiful she is until, well…you realize how beautiful she is. It’s like you wake up one morning and, through your bathroom window, you catch a glimpse of her brushing her hair. Instead of sneaking into your dad’s magazine pile, you could have been spying on Sophia Loren all this time from your own backyard.
The impact of such spectral beauty is earth-shattering, heart-stopping, much too hyphenated for words. You are ruined for life. The air inhaled and exhaled by mere mortals will never again tickle the cilia of your nasal passages. You will tape dried corn kernels to your knees and crawl for miles for a sniff of such rarified air.
Yosemite is a conundrum. Crawling with visitors, far too many for any ecosystem to sustain, it is also a place that belongs on every bucket list. Despite the hordes of screaming children, people with no teeth, monster trucks, and men in camouflage garb, it is truly a Great Wonder of the World, right up there with the al-Hambra, Taj Mahal, Mount Fuji, Roman Colosseum, Hagia Sophia, Chichen Itza, the Eiffel Tower, and Curly Fries.
It is too easy to take the familiar for granted. I vow, from this day forward, to make an earnest effort to view my immediate world, the one in which I live day to day, through the virgin eyes of a tourist. The vineyards of Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Chateneuf du Pape will have nothing over Napa and especially Sonoma. The Costa Brava and Amalfi Coast will pale in the shadow of Big Sur where the mountains meet the sea. The girl next door will forever eclipse the female perfection of Sophia Loren, Gong Li, and Queen Latifah.
And, four hours outside of San Francisco, there is the magnificence of the High Sierras and Yosemite.
Bridal Veil Falls
Scenes from Yosemite Valley