When I was younger, I thought experiences were about perfection, the hike without scratches, the sky without clouds, but now I see that mythic days require the swollen knee, the blistered feet, the early afternoon cloudburst and even a little fear. The mountain lion tracks enhance the beauty of the columbine. Embedded in the concept of mythic is the concept of overcoming, of pushing beyond ordinary limits. Awe is the aspen curling upward from a cup of soil in the rock; it is the pasqueflower nodding in the snow.

Pain, as well as beauty, is necessary to give us perspective. We can place our suffering against the backdrop of time and allow our nagging little egos to rest in the great verdant container of the timeless. We feel smaller, yet connected to something bigger and grander.

-- Mary Pipher, Finding Peace