But you can’t take the mountains out of the girl.  Bright lights, big city, very big city.  My blood pressure starts to escalate as soon as the car starts moving. My pulse races as cars zoom down the city blocks, weaving in and out of traffic, before slamming on the brakes at the last minute for a red light.  Everyone seems to be in such a hurry to get somewhere, anywhere.

I gaze out the windows, looking upward.  Columns of lights and balconies, endless balconies jutting out from the sides of the towering buildings, every which way.  I contemplate how many people live in each city block, stacked one upon another, floor after floor.  Sirens, honking horns – people walking, people biking, people jumping out of cabs (or Ubers) — so many people.  The sight of it all overwhelms me.

The problem is we adapt to our environment.  You might think from this post that I never lived in a city, but that would be untrue.  Some 20 years ago, I lived smack in the middle of San Francisco.  All these same noises, lights, and distractions were right outside my apartment window.  And yet, most nights I slept like a baby and I didn’t think twice about it.

Fast forward twenty years to today.  I’ve now adapted to a very different environment — one with quiet, the sound of a creek off in the distance, the occasional howl of a coyote.  The only light that comes in our bedroom window is that from the Super Moon, its brilliance illuminating the mountains and forests that surround us.

Even that very Super Moon didn’t seem quite as brilliant, quite as special among the city lights.  There is so much light pollution coming from a large city like Chicago, its hard to discern that in fact this moon is that much brighter.  It’s just another of the thousands of lights that illuminate the sky, drowning out the Milky Way and all but the brightest of planets.

Sleeping presents its own challenges — with noise and light seeping through the windows throughout the night.  I toss and turn, unable to sink into a restful sleep, even after using a fan to drown out some of the hub bub.

I realize after two days of being surrounded by the rush, rush of people zipping from place to place and finding myself clenching my jaw, tensing my body because I’m feeling assaulted from all sides by this sea of humanity that I really am just a simple mountain girl at heart.  I long for the blackness of the night, for the peace of silence, and for a leisurely drive along a bumpy mountain road, with a wave of a hand from a friendly neighbor.

No, you really can’t take the mountain out of the girl.  So glad to be back in our mountain home.