Living for the view

By Andy Winemiller -

Everybody lives life for a different reason.

There are some who like stuff. Whether it’s guns, jewelry, automobiles or something else, many people like to collect stuff. There are folks who like people. Running into a friend or long-lost family member can make the day for these folks. These people like to shoot the breeze.

Some people live this life in preparation for the next one. There are also people who work hard throughout their lives in hopes of a cozy retirement. Some folks live life by the day.

Whatever the reason is, everybody must have some reason to live — a reason to attack life with veracity each day.

Last Saturday I covered a New Year’s hike at Pilot Mountain State Park.

As I meandered along the Jomeokee Trail I looked up at the big pinnacle. I had the urge to attempt a climb up the rock face. However, I knew the park ranger would put a stop to this. I also knew if I fell to my death and broke the Mount Airy News camera I was carrying the company would probably charge my estate for it.

I fended off that urge and looked ahead of me. That’s when I had my epiphany. I realized why I get out of bed every day.

I live life for the view.

The view at Pilot Mountain is impressive, but it’s nothing like what I’ve seen in other places. What was weird was that the view of the Sauratown and Blue Ridge Mountains off in the distance triggered memories of many other views.

I really miss America’s last frontier. If Alaska offered nothing else, it offered a view. As I stared into the horizon, I remembered the view off Mount Baldy in Eagle River and the one from the summit of Flattop outside of Anchorage.

I felt like I could touch the landscape on the Seward Highway as it snakes along the coast of the Turnagain Arm as we made our way to Alyeska Ski Resort for the first time five years ago.

The view of Eklutna Lake was breath-taking in the midnight-hour light of day one June.

I could taste the amber ale from Denali Brewing Company in Talkeetna as I remembered the view of Mount McKinley. I could feel the cold air as I surveyed the landscape while falling from any number of planes from Fort Benning, Georgia to Fairbanks, Alaska.

One of the worst places I went to in my life also had one of the best views. The mountains of eastern Afghanistan offered an impressive view which truly was second only to Alaska.

Colorado Springs, Colorado was pretty cool.

I don’t need mountains and cold to enjoy the view. There’s nothing quite like putting your toes in white sand or seeing the bottom of the ocean through clear blue water.

I once climbed along a stony cliff as the waves broke beneath me in order to access a completely uninhabited stretch of beach in the Caribbean.

Somehow that glance off the top of Pilot Mountain sparked all that. All of those memories rushed through my head, and they were amazing. Some of those views were easy to access, and others were much harder.

They also lead to the stories of those involved in the excursions which led to the view.

The experience also led to the realization that there’s not a bad view right here in our own backyard.

With our entire readership to play witness, I’m making my New Year’s resolution. In 2016 I will actively seek a view.

Some are going to be more easily attained. I intend to trudge through the Jefferson National Forest this spring. I also think I can ride my Harley a little further down the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I think sitting with my family atop Stone Mountain or Hanging Rock and watching the sun begin to set could make for a simple but very enjoyable view.

There are some rivers right here in Surry County which I’ve yet to paddle. I’ll explore those in 2016.

Time has eroded some memories such as names or dates or even circumstances. However, the views from my life are as perfect as ever.

I’m going to add a few more to the memory bank.

I imagine one day when I shut my eyes for the last time it’ll be a lot like Friday’s moment on Pilot Mountain.

All the memories of all those views will rush through my head, and I want some to be from 2016.

By Andy Winemiller

Andy is a staff writer for The News and can be reached at (336) 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer for The News and can be reached at (336) 415-4698.

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