After spending yesterday in an urban environment, I am happy to be back home, again. The bustle of a city often makes me feel uncomfortable and, admittedly, edgy while I am there. Navigating in the burghal surroundings is not my forte. Seemingly, my internal instincts take over and I yearn to have adequate space and…solitude!

I prefer spruce and fir to concrete and asphalt. The skyscrapers I admire are the peaks of the Rocky Mountains magnificently towering in the horizon, not the manmade architectural steel marvels that dominate an urban skyline. My sense of hearing appreciates the bellowing bugle of a bull elk on a crisp, cool morning more than the blaring of car horns on a busy freeway.

“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.”

Albert Camus

By omission, I am strongly introverted. I am energized by finding a place where there is noticeable calm and tranquility. I love sitting, undisturbed, in a quiet place and contemplating the many facets of life. Solitude, for me, is usually discovered outdoors. One of the many pleasures of being outdoors and doing outdoor activities is finding a place of solitude. Seeking such a special place is part of the adventure.

Witnessing urban evolution throughout my lifetime prods my knowledge of mountain men. They surely must have wantonly sought out solitude to ply their trade. The courageous hinterlanders of this era did so with the hope of gaining financially for their endeavors. Although mostly motivated by greed, many of these frontiersman, also sought out a life of solitude and adventure. The spirit they exhibited to take on the wild is, for me, enviable.

Mountain men often crossed the line between solitude and loneliness. For as tough and independent as they were, they also loved companionship and camaraderie. Rendezvous was a much-anticipated occasion. Rendezvous provided an atmosphere to sell plews, drink alcoholic spirits, meet up with old acquaintances, and make new friends. Rendezvous was an imperative respite in a life of loneliness and solitude.

As hearty and obstinate as the mountain men were during this short era in American history, I am not certain they would be able to survive in modern cities. Kudos, to those who choose to live in metropolitan areas. I commend them for their patience and tolerance. My intentions are not to criticize the urban lifestyle. City dwellers have learned unique skills and tactics to adapt and survive in the urban environment. I acknowledge it is their preference. Their preference, however, is not mine.

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