I’ve wanted to go to Moraine Lake ever since I first saw a picture of it in National Geographic. My opportunity finally came last weekend, and I was absolutely astounded by the beauty of Banff National Park. In fact, it was so beautiful that I was almost paralyzed by an inability to adequately savor what I was looking at. The beauty was everywhere, but I just wasn’t sure how to handle it. For some reason, it was as if looking with my eyes wasn’t enough. I had witnessed the same exact scene in hundreds of pictures, but now that I was there in person I felt a need to somehow do something more with what was in front of me. Well aware that my time in the park was limited, I wanted to do everything within my power to capture the moment. The problem was that I didn’t know how. The best I could do was to simply take a few pictures and leave with some stories and memories.
After taking plenty of pictures and sharing plenty of laughter with friends, I had a clarifying moment upon reaching a breathtaking overlook of Lake Louise. I couldn’t believe the sight in front of me, but I also didn’t feel the need to try and understand the sight in front of me. It was in this moment that I realized that capturing it really didn’t matter at all. What mattered was simply being present in the moment. I wasn’t thinking about how I got to the overlook. And I wasn’t even thinking about how I would someday look back at my time on the overlook. The important thing was simply that I was there.
The magnificence of Banff helped me to understand that beauty isn’t so much about seeing as it is about being. There is no use in going to a place simply to see it. The experience of seeing can be done on a couch flipping through a National Geographic. Beauty is an invitation to be. It doesn’t need to be snapped and Instagrammed and captured, it simply needs to be experienced in the present. Life is found in each moment we experience. This life is neglected, however, when we attempt to transfer the moment anywhere other than where it is meant to be. Simply put, I believe that we miss out on life when we find ourselves clinging to the present. I’m starting to see that life is not meant to be experienced as a series of moments in time but is instead meant to be an immersion into a constant yet ever-changing state of being.