Walking in a New Perspective

A couple weeks ago, Tom and I arrived at our small, rustic summer cabin on Echo Lakes, just south of Lake Tahoe.   Nestled in the majestic 60-foot white pine forest of the Northern Sierras, at 7500 feet elevation, the Pacific Crest Trail runs literally right behind the cabin. The ice-cold water of the small mountain lake called Echo Lake is surrounded by rugged grey granite cliffs on the edge of the pristine Desolation Wilderness, still covered with spots of snow in the upper elevations even in the peak of summer.

When we arrive here each July, as I step out of our car and inhale the smell of those pines, feel the cool mountain breeze on my skin, and hear the sharp chattering of a ground squirrel as we invade his quiet space for the summer, I instantly feel my cares slipping away or at least readjusting themselves into their proper perspective.

A day or two later, once the cabin has been properly “opened,” we take our first early morning kayak ride on the picturesque lake, glassy and quiet before the afternoon winds pick up. We paddle without speaking most of the time as conversation seems to break the magic of the moment. In the afternoon, we hike up to the ridge behind the cabin where we like to share a sandwich on a perfect rocky ledge from which we can view the entire lower lake. After dark, we often sit outside on the deck, marveling at a bottomless, black sky full of stars which seem to have multiplied by the thousands from our home closer to town.

From all these perspectives, I feel both infinitesimally small and infinitely large—small in terms of my personal significance in the scope of the entire Universe, large in terms of the available possibilities and my personal potential to impact my here and now. In both cases, it’s the change in environment, in particular the deep dive into nature, that corrects my perspective on how senseless my fears are, how silly my doubts are, and how needless my worries are.

Here, I’m reminded that while the world will certainly continue to rotate on its axis and the seasons will continue to turn year after year after year regardless of what I do or do not do, I am an important part of a powerful play that goes on and on (to quote Whitman), and it is far more important to focus upon what I can do, what I can access, and what I can change than on what I lack, what I regret, what I’m frustrated by, or what I cannot change.

I hope, this summer, you’ll not forgo a personal vacation or at least some quiet time off in order to gain a few more days of production and profits. These moments of reflection and relaxation create fresh new outlooks and renewed energy, vigor, and enthusiasm for what is possible and available as we are thrown right back in to our everyday lives once again for the last half of our year. Mark it off your calendar and hold it as sacred and crucial time. I promise the time will buy you things money cannot.

I’ll close this week by wishing you a string of summer days filled with reading (and cat naps) on the porch, leisurely walks in beautiful places, the taste of strawberries and lemonade, and the sounds of crickets as you sleep. Tell anyone who asks that Katherine Eitel Belt said it was all an essential part of any decent business plan as well as a properly lived life.

“Have you ever wandered lonely through the woods? And everything there feels just like it should. You’re part of the life there, you’re part of something good. If you’ve ever wandered lonely through the woods. If you’ve ever been out walking, you would know.”

~ Brandi Carlile, “Have You Ever”


  1. Your writing is just beautiful, Katherine. I am instantly transported there with you- it’s remarkable.

    1. Thank you, Guylyn, for taking a minute to write to me. I’m so pleased that the Stretch this week transported you to feel the beauty of this place. I hope your summer is filled with many great moments just like it.

  2. Thank you for sharing, you are so inspiring, and I would love to one day be in your presence and be able to learn from you 1:1!

    1. Hi Katherine, Bob Mendel here, leave July 17 for whitefish , Montana for 8 days bicycling adventure to road to the sun, in glacier national park, up thru Banff, Jasper with bicycle adventure outfits!!! Like you Can’t wait to breathe it all in and be “Aware of all my blessings, gratefulness and Gratitude!!!”

      1. Bob, that sounds like HEAVEN! We love Montana, Banff, and Wyoming! ALL incredibly gorgeous places. We are leaving tomorrow for Philly for the 4th of July and then leave for our first trip to Italy on the 5th to hike in the Dolomites for a week and then on to some sightseeing in other parts of the country. The trip of a lifetime to celebrate my 65th birthday. We’re so excited. I’m wishing you (and us!) a safe and awe-inspiring trip! Thanks for commenting.

    2. Thanks, Becky! I hope that day comes too. And thank you for commenting with such a kind post. It means a lot to me. Have an awesome summer!

    1. Thanks, Kim! So glad you liked it. We’re wishing you a fabulous summer! Thanks for commenting.

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